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JMU's Taylor West

CAA Field Hockey Championship Preview

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 11/01/2012
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RICHMOND, Va. (November 1, 2012) - The 2012 CAA Field Hockey Championship is set to begin Friday at Drexel's Vidas Athletic Complex in Philadelphia with six of the CAA's top squads vying for the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Field Hockey Championship.

The quarterfinals get underway Friday morning as fourth-seeded William & Mary (10-8, 3-4 in CAA) takes on fifth-seeded Delaware (7-11, 3-4 in CAA) at 10:30 a.m., followed by third-seeded James Madison (10-7, 4-3 in CAA) squaring off against sixth-seeded Hofstra (7-11, 1-6 in CAA) at 1 p.m.

In Saturday's semifinals, top-seeded Drexel (13-6, 5-2 in CAA) takes on the W&M/Delaware winner at Noon and second-seeded Northeastern (13-5, 5-2 in CAA) faces the JMU/Hofstra winner at 2:30 p.m. The CAA championship game is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Drexel is looking to capture the CAA field hockey championship for the first time after suffering narrow 1-0 losses in the 2009 and 2010 title games. The Dragons enter the tournament ranked 18th in the NFHCA Top 25 poll, and have been ranked in the poll every week this season, peaking at No. 15 on two different occasions. Drexel enters the championship riding a two-game winning streak, including a dramatic 1-0 victory over No. 10 Northeastern last Friday. Leading the Dragons offensively are first-team All-CAA selections Amanda Fleischut and Lindsay McArdle. Fleischut, a senior midfielder, leads the team with 26 points on 10 goals and six assists. McArdle, a junior forward, tops the team in goals with 11, including three game-winners.

Northeastern enters the championship ranked 10th in the NFHCA Top 25 poll and will also be seeking its first CAA field hockey championship after falling in last year's title game. The Huskies have spent the entire season ranked in the Top 25 after defeating six ranked opponents, highlighted by a 3-2 victory over No. 6 Virginia on September 8th. 2012 CAA Player of the Year Crystal Poland is the top performer on the Huskies' offense after leading the CAA in goals (28), points (61) and game-winning goals (8). Freshman Deirdre Duke, the CAA Rookie of the Year, has also had a big season offensively with 12 goals and 30 points. Goalkeeper Lizzie Priest (1.63 GAA) was a first-team All-CAA honoree.

James Madison is aiming to win its fifth CAA championship and its first since capturing three straight titles from 2006-08. The Dukes are coming off a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory at Delaware in their regular-season finale last Friday night. JMU freshman goalkeeper Lena Wimmert ranks fifth in the NCAA with a goals against average of 1.13. Offensively, JMU is paced by redshirt freshman forward Taylor West, who leads the team with seven goals, and CAA first-team All-CAA selection Jenna Taylor, who tops the Dukes with seven assists.

William and Mary earned a berth in the CAA Championship for the first time since 2008. The Tribe jumped out to a 7-1 start this season, which included a victory over No. 11 Boston University.  W&M spent four weeks in the NFHCA Top 25 peaking at No. 19. The Tribe features a balanced offensive attack with four players scoring at least five goals. Christine Johnson and Pip Saunders top the team with seven goals apiece. Senior defender Maria Caro anchors the back line after receiving first-team All-CAA honors.

Delaware is back in the CAA championship for the fourth straight season and will look to capture its third CAA title after victories in 2004 and 2009. The Blue Hens have won three of their last four games and played a difficult schedule this season with 10 ranked opponents. Sophomore defender Kelsey McKee, a first-team All-CAA selection, has been the top offensive performer for the Blue Hens with team-highs in goals (11) and points (24). Delaware will also look to freshman midfielder Michaela Patzner offensively after she contributed six goals and 13 points this season.

Hofstra makes its eighth appearance in the CAA Championship after securing the final seed with its 2-1 victory over Towson last Friday. The Pride began the season by winning four of its first five matches, and picked up an impressive victory over No. 12 Boston University on October 14th. Sophomore forward Jonel Boileau leads the Pride offense with 10 goals and three assists. Junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn De Turo will anchor the Hofstra defense after ranking second in the CAA with 108 saves.

Admission to the CAA Field Hockey Championship is $5 for adults. Youths under age 12 and students with a valid college ID from participating CAA schools are admitted free.

If you can't attend the championship, all five games will be video streamed free of charge on CAASports.com. Also be sure to check out the video recaps, game stories and statistics on the field hockey championship page on CAASports.com.

2012 CAA Field Hockey Championship

Buckley Field at the Vidas Athletic Complex - Drexel University - Philadelphia, Pa.

November 2 - Quarterfinals

#4 William & Mary vs. #5 Delaware          10:30 a.m.

#3 James Madison vs. #6 Hofstra              1:00 p.m.

November 3 - Semifinals

#1 Drexel vs. #4 W&M/#5 Delaware        12:00 p.m.

#2 Northeastern vs #3 JMU/#6 Hofstra  2:30 p.m.

November 4      

CAA Championship Game            3:00 p.m.

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