Princeton Draws Drexel in Opening Round of NCAA Field Hockey Championship
INDIANAPOLIS -- Second-ranked Princeton will open the 2012 NCAA Field Hockey Championship facing No. 15 Drexel on Saturday, Nov. 10 in the first round. The Tigers are the second seed in the tournament and head to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. for the opening rounds.
Princeton is coming off a 6-0 blanking of No. 13 Lafayette Tuesday afternoon to improve to 17-1 entering this weekend's match. The Tigers have defeated eight teams currently nationally-ranked, including topping five programs that have advanced to the NCAA Championship field.
In the other half of the Charlottesville portion of the bracket, Virginia will face Iowa.
Princeton is led by the national goals and points per game leader Kathleen Sharkey. The senior striker had a hat trick and an assist versus Lafayette, improving her season totals to 32 goals and seven assists for 71 points. Allison Evans is the team's second-leading scorer with 11 goals, while Katie Reinprecht serves as Princeton's assist leader with 15. In goal, Christina Maida is 14-1 and has a 1.07 goals against average, 44 saves and 14 goals against.
The Tigers and Drexel have met five times in program history, with Princeton having won all five prior meetings. The teams have not faced each other in nearly a decade during the regular season and in their last meeting the Tigers bested the Dragons, 5-1, on Sept. 6, 2003 in Princeton. The squads did meet in 2010 in a preseason scrimmage, with the Tigers earning a 5-3 victory.
The Dragons, out of the Colonial Athletic Association, are making their second NCAA appearance all-time and their first as an automatic qualifier. Drexel earned an at-large slot in 2009 and upset fifth-ranked UConn, 3-2, that year before losing to Maryland in the second round, 5-0.
Drexel's offense is headlined by Amanda Fleischut's 11 goals and eight assists for 30 points over 21 games. On the defensive end, Jantien Gunter has served as the Dragon's lone goalkeeper this year. She's tallied a 1.52 goals against average, 116 saves, 32 goals against and six shutouts.