#6 Field Hockey Tops #5 West Chester in Opener, 2-1

Smith had a hand in both Skyhawk goals with a goal and assist. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Smith leads attack with goal and assist, while Freedman posts ten saves

EASTON, Mass. (September 1, 2018) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 6 in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II preseason poll, opened its season with an impressive 2-1 victory over No. 5 West Chester (Pa,) University in non-conference field hockey action on Timothy J. Coughlin, '80 Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Senior All-American Kacie Smith, the reigning Longstreth/NFHCA Division II Player of the Year, had a hand in both Stonehill goals with a goal and assist, while classmate Sara Freedman made it stand with ten saves in the Skyhawks cage to anchor a strong defensive effort for the hosts.

Senior Carly Andersen also netted a goal for Stonehill, while junior Grace Pickering chipped in with an assist. Sophomore Elaine Bachelder also aided the Skyhawks defensive effort from her center-back position, recording two defensive saves, while senior MacKenzie Greenberg added another.

Freedman preserved the win with ten saves in the Skyhawks goal. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Senior Kaitlin Hatch netted West Chester's goal, while classmate Marissa Elizardo registered six saves in the Rams cage.

After a scoreless first half in which Freedman had five saves and Elizardo two, Smith opened the scoring 13:28 into the second with her 79th career goal, opening her scoring account for the season after setting an NCAA Division II record with 41 markers in 2017. She took a pass from Pickering from near midfield, turned and drove a hard shot into the cage to give Stonehill the advantage. The Skyhawks doubled their lead with four minutes remaining as Andersen got to the left post off her own corner pass and got a stick to Smith's drive from the top of the arc for her 26th career goal and provide vital insurance to Smith's opener.

West Chester pulled a goal back just 61-seconds from full time as Hatch slipped past Freedman on a counterattack and fired a shot through the remaining Stonehill defenders to slice the lead in half. The Skyhawks were able to hold on from there, though, and claim the key early season triumph between top ten teams.

Stonehill (1-0, 0-0 NE10) is back in action on Tuesday night, when it hosts Assumption College for a non-conference matchup and its Purple & White Game at W.B. Mason Stadium at 7 p.m. West Chester (0-1, 0-0 PSAC) closes out its weekend trip to the Northeast on Monday at Bentley University at 10 a.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.