FARMINGTON, Maine – University of Maine at Farmington field hockey (2-12 overall, 1-3 NAC) enters the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Playoffs as the #3 seed and will travel to play rival Husson University (2-12,1-3) on Wednesday at 7:00 PM. In the seeding tiebreaker, Husson was determined the top seed by the strength of schedule with a .509 to UMF's .501. Both teams held identical conference records, overall records, and goals-against averages.
Thomas College (11-7, 4-0) concluded the regular season with a spotless conference record and claimed the 2018 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Field Hockey Championship title as the regular season victors. The Terriers earned the top seed in the NAC and a first-round bye.
As announced prior to the start of the season, NAC field hockey teams will compete as associate members in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) championship tournament. Each conference will send their top three regular-season finishers into post-season play. The NECC completes regular season competition on Saturday and will determine standings at that time.
NAC No. 2 Husson will host No. 3 UMaine-Farmington, while the NECC No. 2 Elms hosts No. 3 Becker in quarterfinal action on Halloween.
Thomas and the Husson/UMaine-Farmington winner will move on to the NECC final four, hosted by the NECC No. 1 seed New England College on November 3rd and 4th.
NAC No. 1 Thomas will face the winner of the NECC quarterfinal matchup, and the NAC quarterfinal winner will face New England College in semifinal games on Saturday, November 3.
Winners of the semifinal games will compete for the trophy on Sunday, November 4th. The champion will be crowned the NECC Field Hockey Champion.
UMF and Husson have faced each other twice in 2018, with the teams winning on their own home field. In the first game, Husson came away with a 4-1 victory. Haley Ward scored three goals for the Eagles in the win and Husson held a 20-8 advantage in shots. The Beavers got revenge in the second game played on Prescott Field, winning 5-1 just under a week ago. Four different players scored as the Beavers held a 15-4 advantage in shots. Statistically, the teams are nearly identical. Very little separates both teams and Coach Cyndi Pratt, in her 14th year, feels that "We match up very well with Husson, two evenly matched teams, the difference on Wednesday will be who can execute under pressure in both the offensive and defensive circles."
Husson Eagles offense is led by Sadie Royer, the top goal scorer (13) in the NAC and Haley Ward who has added seven goals on the season. UMF is led by senior Emma Martineau with five goals and Kasey Talarico with three.
Over the teams last 10 meetings, Husson owns the 7-3 advantage with only one win coming on the other team's home-field (2014, Husson 4-0). Pratt commented on her team playing on the turf at Husson, "We have played on the turf a lot and feel comfortable playing there". She also added, "We enjoy the turf and are looking forward to the challenge." This will be the first year since 2014 that the teams will not be facing each other in the NAC Championship game and emotions will be high. Coach Pratt knows both teams have a lot of experience in big games (UMF NAC Champs 2016, Husson NAC Champs 2017) but believes UMF can handle the pressure, "We have to realize the game lasts for 70 minutes, emotions always run high when the playoffs roll around, so we have to make sure we maintain poise and have a complete mindset for the entire game."
When asked what it will take to win the game, she commented "We need to get offensive corners and execute when we have the opportunity. We need to limit Husson's chances by playing clean steady defense."
The rivalry continues on Wednesday, October 31 at 7:00 pm on Dr. John W. Winkin Sports Complex at Husson University.