|Mazie Stiles||Rebecca Russo|
Appearing in the NCAA Division III Championship for the fourth straight season and 18th time in school history, The University of Scranton women's soccer team is set for a First Round match-up with 10th-ranked Centre on Saturday at Ohio Northern University. Things get underway at 1:30 p.m.
In Saturday's first game in Ada, Ohio, the host Polar Bears (17-2-2) will take on Grove City (12-6-2) in the other First Round match at the site. The winner of that match and the Royals-Colonels bout will then face off in a Second Round tilt Sunday at 1 p.m. with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.
Fans not making the trip west to Northwest Ohio for the match are reminded that both live stats and live video will be available free of charge here: http://www.onusports.com/sports/wsoc/ncaas/index
No strangers to NCAA Tournament play, Scranton will play at Ohio Northern in the postseason for the second time in program history this weekend, as the Royals went west in 2011 where they lost a tough 1-0 match to the host Polar Bears in overtime.
On the year, the Royals got hot at the right time, capturing their last four matches to enter the NCAA Tournament with an 11-5-3 overall mark for the year.
In the Landmark Conference tournament, the Royals avenged a pair of heartbreaking regular season losses to take their seventh Landmark title overall, knocking off both Elizabethtown (3-2) and Susquehanna (3-0) on the road to earn the conference's automatic bid.
Leading the Royals into the tournament will be an opportunistic offense paced by the team's offensive leader junior Mazie Stiles (Nyack, N.Y./Albertus Magnus), who had scored a team-high seven goals, and a dominating defense, led by senior Rebecca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor), who plays in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season on Saturday.
For the year, the Royals defensive unit has allowed just under one goal a contest (0.85) and shutout eight opponents. Scranton's last shutout against Susquehanna last Saturday in the Landmark Conference title match may have been the unit's most impressive performance of the year, as they not only held the River Hawks scoreless but without a shot in the final 45 minutes of competition.
Scranton will also look to win a First Round match for the third straight season on Saturday but it will not be an easy task against the nationally-ranked Centre Colonels, who enter the contest as the lone unbeaten, untied team in all of NCAA Division III at 21-0 overall.
Winners of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) for the eighth straight year, the Colonels have outscored the opposition by a staggering 96-5 margin on the 2019 season. Leading the team offensively is senior Alana Hughes, who tied for the lead in all of NCAA Division III in total points with 66 while scoring 24 times, the fifth-highest mark in the United States. Overall, the Colonels are tops in all of Division III in scoring offense scoring 4.57 goals a game, while posting a goals-against-average of 0.24, the third-best in all of Division III.
For more Centre's 2019 season to date, head here: https://centrecolonels.com/sports/womens-soccer/schedule
Fans are also reminded to follow Scranton's social media channels on Twitter and Instagram @RoyalAthletics for updates from the team's trip to Ada and throughout Saturday's game, as well.