NEWARK, Del. - - Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the University of Delaware field hockey team is in a position to claim a Colonial Athletic Association playoff berth with matchups at James Madison and VCU this weekend.

The Blue Hens currently sit in a tie for fourth with Drexel in the standings, and play at fifth place James Madison on Friday, at 7 p.m., before heading to eight place VCU on Sunday for a 12 noon start.

Scouting the University of Delaware Blue Hens (8-9, 3-3 CAA): 
The Blue Hens rattled off two huge wins last weekend to put themselves in playoff contention last weekend. They first defeated bitter rival Drexel, 3-0, on Friday before handing Towson a 3-1 loss on Senior Day Sunday at Rullo Stadium.

Delaware got back to its early season flow, as five different players scored the six goals from the two games. Senior Amanda McCardell scores twice against Drexel to get the weekend rolling, while Kasey Prettyman added the third goal.

Against Towson, Kelsey McKee, Nicole Onorato (above right) and Clare O’Malley each tallied a goal to lead the Blue Hens.

On the season, the Hens have used 14 different goal scorers and Kayla Schweitzer has added seven assists to make it 15 separate point markers.

Freshman Kelsey McKee’s team-high nine goals are the most for a Blue Hen freshman since former All-American Leah Geib netted 10 goals for the 2001 squad. McKee could become the first Blue Hen to lead the squad in goals scored as a freshman since Melissa Hefner tied for the team lead with seven in 1993. She is the main striker on penalty corners, taking a team high 60 shots, while putting 37 of them on frame. She has added four assists for 22 points.

Schweitzer and junior Carley Hecht are tied with a team high seven assists on the season, most of which also come on penalty corners. Hecht typically inserts the corner, while Schweitzer is the stick-top, setting up McKee for the shot.

In goal, Noelle Diana is fifth in Blue Hen history with 332 saves playing in 61 games. This season, she has started all 17 games, making 111 stops and carries a 2.97 goals against average. The shutout over Drexel was the Diana’s second this season, and seventh of her career.


Scouting the James Madison University Dukes (7-9, 3-4 CAA):
 
The Dukes are coming in losers of two of their last three games, but the two losses were to NFHCA ranked no. 2 North Carolina and no. 1 Old Dominion. Most recently, they defeated William & Mary, 3-1, to stay in the hunt for postseason play.

James Madison sits a half game behind Delaware and Drexel in the standings, with Friday’s match against the Blue Hens its final regular season game of the season.

Against William & Mary, the Dukes jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Tribe tacked one on late. Ysaline Nobels, Jenna Taylor and Bethany Ashworth each scored a goal for the visitors.

Playing in only three games, Taylor West leads the team with six goals and 13 points but has not played since September 23. Jenna Taylor, Nobels, and Lindsay Cutchins lead the current roster with three goals each.

Margo Savage has started all but one game in goal for the Dukes, making 87 saves in over 1,035 minutes. She has posted a 2.23 goals against average so far this season.

Friday will be the 12th meeting between the two programs, dating back to 1999. JMU holds a slim 6-5 advantage in the all-time series, including last season’s 7-1 victory at Rullo Stadium.


Scouting the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams (5-12, 2-5 CAA):
 
The Rams have split their last four matchups, but come into their final regular season game of 2011 after dropping a 6-1 decision to #1 Old Dominion last Sunday.

Last Friday they defeated William & Mary, 3-1, for their second CAA victory, keeping them in the running for one of the six spots eligible to go to the CAA Tournament. The Rams’ other CAA win came over Drexel, 4-2, back on September 25.

Although VCU has only won two games during its CAA schedule, the Rams played Northeastern and James Madison to tough one-goal games. They lost at NU, 2-1 on October 2, before losing at JMU, 2-1, in double overtime the next time out.

Kelsey Scherrer leads the Rams with 10 goals and 22 points. Kendell Combs, Arialle Hess Haley McBee are tied for second on the team with three goals each. Stephanie DeMasi has a team high seven assists on the season.

Goalkeeper Eric Jablonski has played in all 17 games for the Rams, making 104 saves in over 1,194 minutes. She has allowed 50 goals, and carries a 2.93 GAA. She has one shutout, a 3-0 win over Pacific.

Sunday will be the 11th meeting between the two programs, dating back to 2001. Delaware leads the all-time series, 9-1, but dropped last year’s contest, 2-1, in double overtime.