Blue Hens Field Hockey Set to Take on Top Ranked North Carolina at Rullo Stadium
September 8, 2011
File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- For the fifth time since rankings became official in 1996, the University of Delaware field hockey team will play the nation’s top ranked team when #1 North Carolina comes to Rullo Stadium on Friday for a 4 p.m. showdown.
The Blue Hens are currently 0-5 against the top ranked team, most recently suffering a 4-0 loss to Maryland on October 18, 2009. All five games against a number one team have been against the Terrapins.
Scouting the University of Delaware Blue Hens:
The Blue Hens are in the middle of a six-game home stand and will play in Rullo Stadium seven of their next eight contests overall. Including this season’s 2-1 record in the friendly confines of Rullo Stadium, the Blue Hens are 16-6 at home since the 2009 season.
Delaware is coming off its first shutout of the season, as they downed BIG EAST foe Villanova, 5-0. It was the team’s first shutout since October 8 last season when the Blue Hens blanked Pacific, 2-0.
The team’s mantra rang true again, as five different goal scorers found the back of the cage to spread out the offense.
Amanda McCardell, Heather Hartman, Kasey Prettyman, Tori Sharpless, and Toni Popinko each found the back of the cage with Popinko and Prettyman each contributing assists and Carley Hecht adding two assists. The Hens scored two of their goals off penalty corners.
With the victory, the Blue Hens bounced back from a 5-2 setback to No. 15 Duke on Saturday afternoon. Delaware has now scored four or more goals in three of its four games this season and the 3-1 start is the best since the 2007 squad started the year with a 7-0 record.
In four games, the Blue Hens have had 10 different goal scorers and 13 players who have contributed at least an assist. Pacing Delaware offensively has been Tory Sharpless who leads the team with four goals, and has added an assist for nine points. Freshman Kelsey McKee has tallied a goal in each of her first three collegiate games for six points. Hecht leads the team with three assists.
Noelle Diana has started all four games, stopping 21 shots in 245 minutes. She has a 2.29 GAA on the season.
Scouting the #1 University of North Carolina Tar Heels:
The Tar Heels moved up one spot to No. 1 in the latestKookaburra / NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll this week. The rankings are the first following the start of the season, as the previous poll was in the pre-season.
UNC has opened the fall 3-0, with two of those wins coming against teams ranked in the Top-10 in the preseason poll. The Tar Heels started the season with a 5-0 win over #9 Michigan State, and then beat Iowa, 2-0, a day later. In their most recent contest, the Tar Heels rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit to defeat No. 5 Syracuse, 3-2.
Junior midfielder Kelsey Kolojejchick has been named the ACC Field Hockey Player of the Week for her two-goal performance in the team’s victory over the Orange last Friday.
Kolojejchick tied the score with her goal in the 61st minute, and then struck again with the game winner less than two minutes later. With 7:12 on the clock, she dove to push in a rebound to give UNC the lead for good, and ultimately the number one spot.
Kolojejchick leads the team with four goals in the early part of the season, while Elizabeth Stephens has tallied two goals and an assist for five points.
Caitlin Powers and Sassi Ammer have split time in goal for UNC, each amassing 105 minutes. Powers is 2-0 with a 1.71 goals against average while making one save. She has allowed two goals this season. Ammer has stopped five shots and is 1-0 on the season. She has not allowed a goal in three games.
Delaware Against the Nation’s Best:
Delaware is 5-37 all-time against Top-10 teams with its most recent victory coming over rival Drexel in the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Championship game. The Dragons were ranked No. 10 at the time.
Fourth ranked Louisville is the highest ranked opponent a Blue Hens squad has defeated since rankings were introduced. The 3-2 victory at Louisville came in the 2002 season.
This will be the fourth meeting between the two programs, with UNC leading the all-time series 2-1.
Delaware’s victory came in the first meeting between the two schools, a 3-1 win in 1981. This is the first meeting since 2004, when UNC defeated the Blue Hens, 5-1.
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