The University of Scranton field hockey team is looking for its first Landmark Conference championship this fall. In order to achieve that goal, the Royals will have to win a pair of games on the road, starting with Wednesday's semifinal contest at Catholic.
Scranton (12-5), the fourth seed, is set to open the Landmark Conference playoffs at top-seeded Catholic (8-8) on Wednesday in a semifinal game at 4 p.m. in Washington, D.C.
The Royals earned its second straight postseason berth and seventh in the last eight years after going 4-3 in conference play and finishing in a three-way tie for third place with Susquehanna and Juniata. With the tie-breaker coming down to goal differential in games against each other, Scranton claimed the fourth and final spot in the postseason tournament.
The Cardinals clinched the top seed and home field advantage throughout the Landmark Conference playoffs with a 1-0 win on Saturday, completing a perfect 7-0 regular season in conference play.
In the regular season meeting between Scranton and Catholic, the Cardinals escaped Scranton with a 3-2 win in double overtime in a thrilling game to open the conference slate for both teams. Sophomore Meghan Shallow (Havertown, Pa./O'Hara) scored the game-winning goal with 2:45 left in the second overtime period after Royals' junior Gracie McClatchy (Havertown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) sent the game into overtime by scoring with 20.6 seconds remaining in regulation.
Junior Brianna Witt (Sloatsburg, N.Y./Suffern) also scored for Scranton in the regular season matchup with Catholic while sophomore goalkeeper Jenna Cyr (Coopersburg, Pa./Southern Lehigh) matched a season-high with seven saves in the loss.
McClatchy paces the Royals' offense with a Landmark Conference-leading 37 points and 16 goals to go along with five assists while senior Elizabeth Tolley (Brookside, N.J/West Morris Mendham) had totaled 26 points on nine goals and a conference-best eight assists. Sophomore Megan Gallagher (Thorndale, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) had netted four goals and dished out six helpers for 14 points.
Cyr has seen the majority of playing time in Scranton's cage and sports a 10-4 record with a 1.07 goals against average and .779 save percentage in 15 games.
Shallow leads Catholic's attack with 13 points on six goals and one assist while senior Hannah Schied (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron) has recorded 10 points by scoring four goals and assisting on two others.
The Cardinals' goalkeeping duo of sophomore Kim McGroary (Phoenixville, Pa./John Carroll) and freshman Maysen Elliot (Williamsburg, Va./Bruton) has combined to post a 0.41 goals against average and a .857 save percentage.
The winner of Wednesday's game play the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal between second-seeded Elizabethtown and third-seeded Susquehanna on Saturday for the Landmark Conference championship with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Saturday's game will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed with the start time yet to be announced.
Admission to Wednesday's semifinal game is $7 for adults and $4 for seniors (62 and older) and non-Landmark Conference students. Children ages 10 and under are admitted free of charge, as are all Landmark Conference students, faculty and staff with their school ID.
For fans unable to make the trip to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, live coverage links are available below.