SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 7 Salisbury University field hockey team will play in search of its 21st Capital Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday night, hosting No. 16 Christopher Newport University in the conference title game, beginning at 6 p.m., at Sea Gull Stadium.
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How we got here
After going through a 5-0 regular season in the CAC, Salisbury (15-2) earned a convincing 3-0 win against fourth-seeded University of Mary Washington on Wednesday, October 31 in the semifinal round. Junior Lexi Butler and sophomore Jenna Partilla each scored once and had an assist in the game while the Sea Gull defense and midfield stood strong, allowing the Eagles to attempt just one shot in the contest.
How they got here
The Captains went 3-2 in the CAC during the regular season to earn the No. 3 seed in the playoff field. Christopher Newport (13-5) picked up a convincing 7-0 win against Frostburg State University in the first round before traveling to second-seeded York College of Pennsylvania for a semifinal contest. The Captains came up with a 2-1 win on the strength of goals by Jackie Kotoriy and Courtney Fiest.
Last time we met
It was just 10 days ago that the teams met in the regular-season finale, with playoff seeding on the line. The game was tied, 1-1, late in the second half when sophomore Jenna Partilla took a shot which was stopped by Captain goalkeeper Olivia Davis, but Partilla gathered the rebound and fired it high into the goal for the game winner with less than four minutes remaining, securing the top seed in the CAC playoffs for the Sea Gulls.
Scouting the Captains
Fiest leads the Christopher Newport offense which ranks second in the CAC, scoring 2.9 goals per game, only behind Salisbury's 3.6 goals per game. Fiest has scored 14 times which ranks third in the CAC. The Captains have given up just 15 goals this year for a 0.81 goals-against average, allowing the team defense to rank second behind Salisbury's 0.71 GAA in 2018.
So we meet again
Since Christopher Newport joined the Capital Athletic Conference prior to the 2013 season, the Sea Gulls and Captains have accounted for all five CAC championships, meeting in the title game three times. Salisbury holds a 2-1 edge in the three CAC championship game meetings, winning in 2013 and 2014 – both victories coming in overtime. Last season, the Captains collected a 2-1 overtime victory for the title.
One of the best of all time
With Salisbury's victory in the semifinal round, Head Coach Dawn Chamberlin earned her 500th career victory, all of which have come at Salisbury University. Chamberlin became just the fifth coach in Division III history and the 11th coach in NCAA history – across all divisions – to reach the milestone.
The winner of Saturday's championship game will earn the CAC's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament which begins next week, while the losing team will await the announcement of the field on Monday to see if it will earn an at-large bid. The NCAA tournament gets underway on Wednesday, November 10.