Field Hockey Earns First #1 Ranking in Program History

Freedman leads a Skyhawks defense which has been among the best in Division II through the month of September. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Skyhawks tied with fellow #1 West Chester in Penn Monto/NFHCA poll

Penn Monto/NFHCA Division II National Poll

EASTON, Mass. (October 3, 2018) – For the first time in the program's 23-year history, Stonehill College is ranked No. 1 in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division II poll, the organization announced this week.

Stonehill, which had been ranked No. 2 in the national poll for three-straight weeks since its 1-0 triumph over then No. 2 East Stroudsburg University, shares the No.1 national ranking with West Chester (Pa.) University in this week's poll with 214 points and six first place votes, with the Rams collecting ten first place votes. Five teams in all have received first place votes in this week's poll, with previous No. 1 East Stroudsburg third with 191 points and four first place votes, Shippensburg (Pa.) University fourth with 143 points and three first place votes and Merrimack College fifth with 130 points and the remaining first place vote.

Stonehill is off to a 6-1 start this season overall, having won its last five games after a 5-0 victory over rival Bentley University on Saturday. The Skyhawks have won their first two Northeast-10 Conference games, including a 2-1 come from behind triumph at current No. 10 Assumption College on September 22 to avenge its lone loss of the year against the Greyhounds (3-1) back on September 4. Stonehill has earned wins over three teams appearing in this week's national poll, including decisions over co-No. 1 West Chester (2-1) and No. 3 East Stroudsburg (1-0).

Smith leads Division II in scoring for the second-staight year, having become just the sixth in NCAA II history to surpass 200 career points. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Stonehill, under the direction of head coach Susan Ciufo in her fourth season, is averaging 3.3 goals per game to rank second in the NE10 and seventh nationally in Division II, while yielding just 0.85 goals per game, which also ranks second in the NE10 and fourth nationally. The Skyhawks are led by senior All-American Kacie Smith, the reigning Longstreth/NFHCA Division II Player of the Year, who once again leads Division II in scoring with 27 points, having scored a Division II-best 12 goals to go with three assists, which is second on the team and eighth in the NE10.

Senior Carly Andersen is second to Smith on the team with 14 points and five goals to go with a team-high four assists. She ranks fifth among NE10 scoring leaders, second in assists and sixth in goals scored. Junior All-American Michaela Antonellis has contributed two goals and an assist for five points.

Senior Sara Freedman backbones Stonehill's defensive unit with a 0.90 goals against average, which ranks second in the NE10 and fourth nationally, having started all seven games and playing all but 22:26 in the Skyhawks cage with a .872 save percentage and 5.9 saves per game with a pair of shutouts in 467:34. Senior MacKenzie Greenberg, sophomore Elaine Bachelder and freshmen Charlotte Cloosterman and Emily Ledoux add defensive support in the Skyhawks backfield.

Stonehill returns to action on Saturday, when it visits Adelphi University for an NE10 matchup at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return home on Tuesday, October 9, to host Franklin Pierce University at W.B. Mason Stadium at 7 p.m.

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