BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University field hockey (5-11, 1-4 MAC) closes out the regular season with games at Kent State on Friday and Bucknell on Sunday. Friday’s contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Kent, Ohio, while Sunday’s game is slated for 1 p.m. in Lewisburg, Pa.
About the Mountaineers
Appalachian played in one game this past weekend at Miami, the leader in the Mid-American Conference. The RedHawks bested the Mountaineers 4-1 in Oxford, Ohio, but the Black and Gold battled hard against the defending MAC tournament champions. In the second half, sophomore Abby Merrill notched the first goal Miami has given up in conference play this season. Merrill’s first goal in 2018 tightened the scoreline to 2-1, but the RedHawks responded with the contest’s final two scores. Sophomore Veerle Van Heertum extended her season-long point streak to four games with an assist on Merrill’s strike. Van Heertum leads the team in points (20), goals (eight) and shots (39). The sophomore also ranks third in points and fourth in goals in the MAC. Freshman Friederike Stegen and sophomore Chloe Bell are tied for the team lead in assists with seven apiece. Sophomore Annette Jarosz is still tied for the conference lead with four defensive saves. Jarosz will face off against Kent State’s Clara Rodriguez Seto on Friday, who also has four defensive saves this season. Redshirt-freshman Madison Nuckols and junior Rachel Gaines have split time in the goal cage. Gaines made the start at Miami, where she registered seven saves.
Scouting Kent State (6-10, 4-1 MAC)
The Golden Flashes struggled early in the season, opening with a 2-9 record in their first 11 games. Since a 2-1 defeat at home against Saint Francis, Kent State is 4-1 with its only loss to No. 22 Ohio State. The Golden Flashes have scored 14 goals in five MAC games. Kent State is also riding a four-game winning streak in conference play, rattling off wins against Longwood, Central Michigan, Ball State and Ohio to jump into second place in the MAC standings. Sophomore Clara Rodriguez Seto leads the team in points (17) and assists (seven). The Barcelona, Spain native also is tied with senior Jessica Apelt for a team-high five goals. Apelt also leads the team with seven points in conference play. Junior Mary Crumlish has started all 16 games in the goal cage, allowing just over two goals per game while posting a .685 save percentage. Miami defeated Kent State 2-1 in overtime for the conference tournament championship in 2017.
Scouting Bucknell (8-7, 3-2 Patriot League)
The Bison began their busy week Tuesday with a 5-0 defeat at No. 7 Penn State. Bucknell is in a stretch where it plays four games in eight days. The Bison began the stretch with a 3-1 victory over conference opponent Holy Cross on Saturday. Bucknell closes out conference play Saturday against Lafayette before hosting Appalachian on Sunday. After starting the season 0-2, the Bison responded with five victories in their next six games. In its three conference victories, Bucknell has averaged 3.5 goals per game. Twelve different Bucknell players have recorded goals this season. Junior Brittany Willwerth leads the team in goals (seven), shots on goal (22) and game-winning goals (three). Seniors Lexi Quick and Nicole Rupnik are tied for second in goals with six apiece. Quick also leads the team with six assists. Junior goalkeeper Olivia Harris has played every minute of all 15 of Bucknell’s games, recording three shutouts while posting a .727 save percentage.
Kent State – The Golden Flashes own a 2-0 record over the Mountaineers. Kent State defeated App State this past season and in 2013. Now Mid-American Conference foes, the two teams will face off each season. Gaines made nine saves in Appalachian’s first conference matchup against the Golden Flashes in 2017.
Bucknell – Sunday will mark the first meeting between Appalachian and Bucknell. Records date back to 1999, and the Mountaineers and Bison have never faced each other. Mountaineers’ head coach Meghan Dawson, however, served as an assistant coach at Bucknell from 2013-2014. She helped coach the Bison to their first-ever Patriot League outright regular-season title.
Appalachian prepares for the MAC tournament. The conference tournament begins Oct. 31 in Oxford, Ohio. Appalachian is ranked No. 5 out of six teams in the conference before it enters the weekend.