UC Field hockey preps for NCAA tournament

By WKTV Sports/Utica College

UTICA, N.Y.  - The Utica College field hockey team hosts Endicott College (15-4) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Tournament on Wednesday.  The game will be at 4 p.m. at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium.  This is the first time in program history that the Pioneers will host an NCAA game.  The last time UC made the NCAA tournament was in 2005 when it lost to Babson College, 5-2.

Last Time Out: Utica faced St. John Fisher College in the semifinals of the Empire 8 Tournament on Saturday… Alaina Stojkovski, Louise Steele-Norton, and Olivia Plaisted scored for UC to help lead the Pioneers to a 3-1 win… Utica met the number one seed, Stevens Institute of Technology in the Championship Sunday… After back-and-forth action, the Pioneers were able to score the go-ahead goal with under five minutes to play to seal the victory and the program's first-ever Empire 8 Championship… Hannah Mackey (two), Louise Steele-Norton, and Ally Sanders scored as UC won 4-3.

Live Coverage: Live stats and video will be provided… Utica College's WPNR radio station will also be streaming live audio for the contest.

Social Media: Fans can get live score updates on Twitter @UCscoreboard.

Mackey on Fire: Sophomore Hannah Mackey has been a strong offensive force recently… She had two goals on Sunday to help lead the Pioneers to the title… She also has five goals and 11 points in the last six games…  Mackey is second in the conference in goals (14), points (38), and game-winning goals (five)… She is also third in the E8 with ten assists… Utica is 10-1 in games where Mackey scores…  The Locke, NY native was also one of Utica's four representatives on the all-tournament team.

Steele-Norton Still Tops: Sophomore stand out Louise Steele-Norton has been a real threat this season…  She is currently tied for the conference record for goals in a season (24)… She ranks tenth nationally in goals and 19th in points per game…  She also leads the Empire 8 with seven game-winning goals which ties Katie Kutas '08 for the most in a single season in UC history… The Avondale, PA native was also named to the E8 all-tournament team.

Stojkovski Named MVP: Sophomore midfielder Alaina Stojkovski was named Empire 8 Tournament MVP after totaling five points in two games on the weekend…  She had a hand in all three of UC's tallies as the Pioneers defeated St. John Fisher College on Saturday and added a helper in Sunday's 4-3 Championship win over Stevens Institute of Technology… She leads the Empire 8 with 15 assists and ranks tenth nationally in assists per game (.83)... For her efforts, she was recently named Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Big D: The UC defense has been almost impenetrable lately… The Pioneers have given up just five goals in the last three games and have allowed one goal or fewer in nine meetings this season… Junior Meghan Morreale all-tournament selection Meghan Morreale has been a staple on defense, starting all 19 games this season… Freshman goalkeeper Kells Casey leads the Empire 8 Conference with a .805 save percentage and a 1.51 goals-against average…  Casey was also recently named Empire 8 Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Scouting Endicott: The Gulls (15-4, 9-1 CCC) earned an automatic bid into the tournament after beating Nichols College 2-1 in overtime to capture the Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship…  Endicott is led by seniors Hannah Thornberg and Melissa Enright, and sophomore Emily Swchuck… Thornberg has a team-best 21 goals and 48 points, while Enright (13 goals, three assists) and Sawchuck (11 goals, seven assists) each have 29 points… This will be the frist-ever meeting between the two teams.

Looking Ahead: The winner of Wednesday's contest will travel to Middlebury College this weekend for the next two rounds of the tournament… Saturday's contest will be at 2 p.m. against DePauw University, which earned a first round bye… Middlebury will take on the winner of Wednesday's match between Skidmore and UMass Dartmouth.


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