Friday, November 3, 2017

No. 1 Wilkes Women's Soccer Set to Host No. 2 Misericordia in MAC Freedom Championship Saturday

WILKES-BARRE – The No. 1 seed Wilkes University women's soccer team will face No. 2 seed Misericordia University in the 2017 Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom Tournament Championship game at Schmidt Stadium at 5:00 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices set by the MAC office are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for students (with ID), and free for children under six years of age.

Live stats and video for fans that are unable to attend the game are provided in the following links.

Live Stats ~ Live Video

The Lady Colonels return to the conference championship game for the fourth time under head coach John Sumoski and are looking for the program's second championship and first since 2005 after advancing past No. 4 seed Eastern Tuesday night at Schmidt Stadium. Wilkes, the No. 1 seed for the first time in program history, won 1-0 in dramatic fashion on a goal 2:29 into the second overtime by Nicolette Towlen after the ball was headed into the box by Ema Sabovic.

The Cougars enter their sixth championship game in the past seven years and look to win the program's fifth MAC Freedom title. Misericordia advanced with a 2-0 victory over No. 3 seed DeSales Tuesday night in Dallas, Pa.

The matchup with Misericordia marks the first time the two teams will meet in the MAC Freedom Championship game. On October 18th Wilkes traveled to Mangelsdorf Field for the regular season meeting and upset Misericordia, ranked No. 18 nationally at the time, 1-0. It was the first regular season win over the Cougars since 2008 for the Lady Colonels. The last time the teams met in the conference tournament was 2015 when Wilkes was able to knock off the No. 1 seed in the semifinal round 5-3 on penalty kicks after a scoreless game.

Wilkes, the No. 8 team in the United Soccer Coaches Mid-Atlantic Region, entered the MAC Freedom Tournament after going 5-1-1 in the conference regular season slate and are 13-2-3 overall. The program has reached at least 12 wins for the sixth time under Sumoski's watch. He was named the 2017 MAC Freedom Coach of the Year this morning when the All-Conference Teams were announced.

The Lady Colonels have 11 shutouts this season and have only allowed five goals in the past 15 games. Wilkes ranks 29th nationally with a .532 goals against average.

Goalkeeper Courtney Stanley set a Wilkes single-season record with her tenth shutout of the season after she made three saves in the semifinal win over Eastern. She leads the conference with a .536 goals against average and is second with a .818 save percentage. Defenders Elena Denger and Niamh Harkins were named First Team All-MAC Freedom while Stanley and defender Catherine Gregoire were selected Second Team All-MAC Freedom.

Offensively the Lady Colonels are averaging 1.44 goals per game and are led by Dianna Connor's seven goals. She recorded hat-tricks this season against Marywood and FDU-Florham and was named the MAC Freedom Offensive Player of the Week on October 9th. Nine other players have scored at least one goal for the Lady Colonels this season. All four of Towlen's goals have been of the game-winning variety and the junior has scored goals in three of the past five games including the only goal against Misericordia. Towlen was named First Team All-MAC Freedom as a forward and midfielder Elise Brubaker was selected Second Team All-MAC Freedom.

Misericordia is receiving votes but just outside the top 25 in the United Soccer Coaches national poll and is the No. 5 ranked team in the Mid-Atlantic. The Cougars entered the conference semifinals as the No. 2 seed after going 5-2-0 in the MAC Freedom regular season and are 13-4-2 overall.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Pojero leads the conference with a .847 save percentage and is second with a .607 goals against average. She was the First Team All-MAC Freedom goalkeeper selection. Defender Emily Szeflinski was named to the First Team and was selected the MAC Freedom Defensive Player of the Year. Defender McKenzie Ruffing was selected Second Team All-MAC Freedom.

Misericordia's offense that averages 2.05 goals per game was led by eight goals from First-Team All-MAC Freedom selection Jackie Stevens. The Cougars had a pair of First Team All-MAC Freedom midfielders in Hannah Larkin and Alex Gallagher while forward Amber Hartranft was named Second Team All-MAC Freedom and midfielder Jordan Martini was an Honorable Mention.

Wilkes is 7-0-3 at Schmidt Stadium while Misericordia is 3-2-1 in road games this season. A Wilkes win Saturday would earn the team its second NCAA Division III Championship appearance with an automatic berth.

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