GAME 15 * SACRED HEART VS. BYRANT * Friday, April 20, 2012 * 7:00 pm
GAME 16 * SACRED HEART VS. CENTRAL CT STATE * Sunday, April 22, 2012 * 1:00 pm
Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart Pioneers head into the final weekend of the regular season looking to secure a Northeast Conference Touranment berth as the Bryant Bulldogs and Central Connecticut State Blue Devils pay visits to Campus Field. The Pioneers control their own destiny in the NEC playoff hunt and will seal up a seventh-straight trip to the post season with a pair of wins this weekend. SHU can also qualify with a split but would have to wait for results from other NEC games to determine tie breaker scenarios.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team fell behind 12-3 in the first half on the way to a 15-5 loss at Brown University last Satruday night. Senior Aurelie Pluijmakers posted three goals in the loss. The Bears out shot the Pioneers 22-4 in the first half on their way to building a nine-goal lead at halftime. Brown tacked on the game's first two goals as Kaela McGilloway scored the first of her three goals and Alexandra Crerend followed with the first of her four tallies. The Pioneers knotted the game up at 2-2 as senior Kaitlin Rochler scored unassisted at 24:04 and junior Emily Pepe buried a feed from senior Kate Kmiotek at 19:25. From there it was all Brown as the Bears rattled off 10-straight goals before Pluijmakers ended the run at 4:34 with an 8-meter goal. Brown pushed their lead to 13-3 on Crerend's fourth at 22:33 and the Bears held the Pioneers off the scoreboard until the 6:51 mark to leave no room for a comeback.
Pioneer News & Notes... Sunday will be "Senior Day" as the Pioneers honor their seven graduating seniors, along with their parents before the game...Seniors Mary LaGrassa, Kate Kmiotek, Katie Gerhard, Aurelie Pluijmakers, Kaitlin Rochler, Kelli Rutledge and Alyssa Dorsey will play in their final home games this weekend...Pluijmakers enters the final weekend of the regular season ranked sixth in the NEC in goals scored with 35 (2.50 pg)...Her 35 goals this season ranks as the 20th highest single season total in school history...Kmiotek enters her final home weekend with 174 career points on 119 goals and 55 assists...Her 174 points ranks sixth all-time and her 119 goals ranks sixth also...Her 55 assists is third in the all-time annals...Junior Emily Pepe is second in the NEC in assists (2.36 pg) and third in points (4.07 pg)...Pepe heads into this weeked with 33 assists, five shy of the school record for assists in a season, set by Mary Montesarchio (38 - 2008).
All-Time Series vs. Bryant... The all-time series is tied at 1-1 with each team winning on their home field. SHU posted a 17-8 win in the first meeting in 2010 and the Bulldogs answered last year with an 11-10 win.
Scouting the Bulldogs... Despite not being eligble for the post season, the Bulldogs have been on a tear of late, winning four of their last five with wins over Mount, 12-10, and Monmouth, 10-8. The Bulldogs are second in the NEC allowing 10.78 goals per game. Lauren Sheridan ranks eighth in the league in goals, scoring 32 goals with Haley Bloom right on her heels with 31. Goalie Lauren Filippone leads the NEC in ground balls with 57 (4.07 pg).
All-Time Series vs. CCSU... The Pioneers have never lost to Central Connecticut State, posting a 12-0 mark all-time against the Blue Devils. The two schools met for the first time during the 2000 season.
Scouting the Blue Devils... The Central Connecticut Blue Devils are right in the hunt for the program's first-ever NEC Tournament berth as they head into the final weekend facing fellow Nutmeg State members SHU and Quinnipiac. The Blue Devils posted wins over Robert Morris, 14-9, and Saint Francis (PA), 16-10, last weekend to stay tied for third in the NEC standings. The Blue Devils sport the league's top-defense, allowing 10.00 goals per game. Ashley Perkoski and Betsy Vendel rank third and fourth in the league in assists, with 27 and 23 respectively. Perkoski ranks fourth in points at 3.57 per game. Goalie Erin Delancey leads the league in goals against average (9.59), second in save percentage (.490) and fifth (9.07) in saves per game.
Around the NEC... The Northeast Conference enters its final weekend of the regular season with all four tournament spots still up for grabs...The Quinnipiac Bobcats are a game up in first place at 6-1 with Mount St. Mary's in second at 6-2 and SHU and CCSU tied for third at 5-2...The Monmouth Hawks are in fifth at 5-3, a half game in front of Byrant at 4-3...The Robert Morris Colonials are still clinging to their playoff hopes at 3-4 in seventh place...The NEC Tournament is scheduled for next weekend, April 27th and 29th at the site of the highest seed...Bryant is not eligible for the postseason until next spring (reclassfying to Division I status)...The Pioneers and Bobcats will host CCSU and Bryant this weekend while Mount and Monmouth will face-off in their only action this week...Robert Morris will close out the season hosting Wagner and LIU Brooklyn.