The fall season extends this week for several area teams, as four programs earned at-large bids Monday, and two others locked up automatic berths after winning their tournament championships this weekend.
Defending national champion The College of Saint Rose lost in the Northeast-10 Conference women’s soccer tournament semifinals, but earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II tournament Monday night. The Golden Knights (16-2-2) earned the third seed, and will play sixth-seeded Wilmington (13-6-2) in a first-round match at 1 p.m. at American International in Springfield, Mass. Friday. The winner meets the host Yellow Jackets Sunday.
Saint Rose, ranked 17th in the national NCAA Division II poll, will compete in the NCAAs for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
Saint Rose is among the top 10 teams in both scoring offense (2.90 goals per game) and scoring defense (0.52 goals against).
Junior forward Carmelina Puopolo leads the country with 48 points and 14 assists. Her 17 goals are sixth among the national leaders. Junior Sydney Bond has 24 points on 11 goals and a pair of assists.
Also, Union College, ranked 24th in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III women’s soccer tournament and will face Brandeis Saturday at either 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. at Amherst College’s Hitchcock Field.
Two Skidmore College teams also learned they received at-large bids after falling in their respective tournaments this weekend.
The Thoroughbreds’ field hockey team earned its sixth straight trip and 12th berth overall into the Division III Tournament and will host UMass-Dartmouth Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Although Skidmore lost in the finals of the Liberty League volleyball tournament, the Thoroughbreds received an at-large bid to that tournament and will face SUNY-New Paltz in the opening round Friday at Clarkson University.
The RPI men’s soccer team and UAlbany field hockey team won NCAA bids by winning their respective tournaments last weekend. RPI beat Vassar in penalty kicks for the Liberty League men’s soccer crown and will play Christopher Newport University Saturday at a time to be determined at Swarthmore College.
UAlbany’s field hockey program earned its third trip to the NCAA tournament in the last five years by upsetting top-seeded New Hampshire in the America East Conference tournament finals Sunday. The Great Danes’ opponent will be announced today.
The Union women’s soccer team is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament in the last 14 seasons, but first since 2008. Union (15-3) is led by senior forward Jennifer Mansfield, the Liberty League Player of the Year, who has 13 goals and four assists for 30 points.
Senior goalkeeper Kayla Marti has a 0.63 goals-against average with eight shutouts.
The Skidmore volleyball team will make its second straight appearance in the NCAAs and eighth overall. The Thoroughbreds own a 26-7 record.
Skidmore’s field hockey team is 13-5 overall, but is 10-1 at home, losing only to top-seeded Middlebury this year.
Junior Kelly Blackhurst tops the Thoroughbreds in scoring with 26 goals and 17 assists. She is third on Skidmore’s all-time scoring list with 70 goals and 38 assists for 178 career points.
Ceilidh MacNeill (11-9-31) and Greenwich graduate Dani DeGregory (12-6-30) are other top scorers for Skidmore, while Saratoga Springs graduate Haley McDougall has a 1.78 goals-against average.
Tickets for Skidmore’s field hockey match are $5 for general admission and $3 for students. The winner of that game travels to Middlebury to take on the No. 1-ranked Panthers on Saturday.
RPI’s men’s soccer team is 9-5-6. The Engineers rely on tough
defense as first-team all-conference goalie Rob Dewald has allowed just 15 goals all year and has registered 10 shutouts.
Matt Koziol, the most outstanding player of the Liberty League tournament, paces the Engineers with five goals and two assists. Four of his goals have been game-winners.
This is RPI’s seventh appearance in the NCAA tournament.