Women's soccer heads to Maryland for NCAA Tournament
Nov. 8, 2012
College Park, Md. - The America East champion Stony Brook women's soccer team will make history on Saturday when it plays in its first-ever NCAA Tournament game against the Maryland Terrapins at 7 p.m. The Seawolves have won four straight road games, including three in the America East Tournament.
The Seawolves (12-6-3) reached the NCAA Tournament by knocking off the top three seeds in the America East playoffs, all on the road and all by one-goal margins. Stony Brook defeated New Hampshire, 2-1, in the Quarterfinals, before knocking off Maine by the same score in the Semis. The Seawolves then silenced top-seed Hartford, 1-0, in the championship game to take home their first-ever conference crown. With the win, Stony Brook became the first No. 6 seed in America East Tournament history to win the title.
Senior tri-captain Sa'sha Kershaw (Baltimore, Md.) was named the America East Tournament Most Outstanding Player after scoring against UNH and assisting on a goal at Maine. Kershaw's 44 career points are the most in program history since the Seawolves joined the America East in 2001.
Joining Kershaw on the America East All-Tournament Team were juniors Larissa Nysch (Dresher, Pa.), Ahriel Fernandez (East Haven, Conn.) and Ashley Castanio (Oceanside, N.Y.). Nysch leads the team with nine goals and 22 points and netted the game-winners in the Quarterfinals at UNH and the Finals against Hartford. One of the leaders of the backline, Fernandez helped silence the Hartford offense in the final, including the conference's leading scorer, Amelia Pereira. Castanio was brilliant throughout the tournament as well, stopping a penalty kick against the Wildcats and making numerous big saves in all three games.
The Terrapins (13-6-2) enter as the No. 4 seed in the region and the No. 9 ranked team in the nation overall. Maryland advanced to the ACC Championship game after beating Miami, 2-1, in OT in the Quarterfinals and No. 10 Wake Forest, 2-0, in the Semifinals. In the championship game, the Terps were silenced by No. 3 Virginia, 4-0.
During the regular season, Maryland lost three games at Ludwig Field to Fordham (1-0), Miami (1-0) and Florida State (1-0). The Terps also beat the likes of Virginia (3-1), Clemson (4-1) and North Carolina (2-1) on their home field this year.
Maryland is led offensively by junior striker Hayley Brock, who has 11 goals and 28 points on the season. Fellow striker and Oyster Bay, N.Y. native Becky Kaplan is also a dangerous scoring threat with 10 goals and 25 points. Keeper Rachelle Beanlands owns three shutouts and a 1.03 GAA in net.
The Terrapins will be making their 13th NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth straight. Maryland advanced to the Sweet 16 last year where they fell to Oklahoma State by a 1-0 score.
Stony Brook and Maryland have met twice in the past (2006, 2010) and both times the Terrapins have prevailed by scores of 2-0. In the most recent meeting, Danielle Hubka put the Terps on top in the 41st minute, before Sade Ayinde added a second in the 69th minute. Current Seawolves Sa'sha Kershaw, Julianne Palm, Taryn Schoenbeck, Caitlin Pfeiffer, Larissa Nysch and Ahriel Fernandez appeared in that game.
America East in the Tournament
America East teams are 11-22 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Last year's champion, Boston University, won its opening round game against Harvard and advanced to the second round, becoming the 10th America East team to advance to the second round since 1991. The 1999 Hartford Hawks advanced the furthest, winning three NCAA games, before bowing out in the Quarterfinals to Penn State.