CLEVELAND, OHIO — Appalachian State University field hockey enters the 2019 MAC Tournament Championship held in Oxford, Ohio, as the No. 6 seed. The Mountaineers will face the No. 7 seed, Central Michigan, Wednesday at noon at the Miami Field Hockey Complex.
Wednesday’s contest between the Mountaineers and Chippewas will be the first game of the tournament. The winner will advance to a 1:30 p.m. tilt against the No. 3 seed, Ohio, on Thursday.
This season will mark the second-straight year all seven teams have an opportunity for the conference crown. In 2018, App State cruised to a 5-2 win over Central Michigan in the opening round before notching a 2-0 victory over No. 3 seed Longwood to advance to the semifinals. App State’s defense allowed just three shots on goal to the Lancers, holding LWU without a shot on goal until the 34th minute.
Miami, the MAC’s back-to-back tournament champion, was selected in the preseason as the favorite to win both the regular-season championship and the tournament championship. The RedHawks earned a share of the regular-season title after Kent State fell 2-1 at Longwood on Saturday. The Mountaineers were predicted to finish fifth in the regular-season standings. App State also tallied a tournament champion vote in the preseason poll.
About the Mountaineers
App State dropped its final game of the regular season in the final minute at Ball State. The Mountaineers outshot the Cardinals 12-10, but Jenna McKune’s goal with 49 seconds remaining lifted Ball State to a 1-0 victory. Seven Mountaineers tallied shots in Friday’s contest, including four student-athletes with two shots or more. Junior Meghan Smart led App State with three shots and two shots on goal to finish the regular season with 42 shots and 27 shots on goal, both of which rank first on the team.
Three Mountaineers finish the regular season with 10 points or more – Smart (14), junior Veerle Van Heertum (14) and sophomore Friederike Stegen (10). Van Heertum also ties Smart with the same number of goals (six) and assists (two). Stegen leads the team with six assists, amassing most of her points from crisp passes as an inserter on App State penalty corner attempts. Ten Mountaineers have recorded a goal for App State this season, and 16 student-athletes have registered at least an assist during the 2019 campaign.
After a defensive save on Friday at Ball State, junior Annette Jarosz ends the regular season tied for second in the MAC with six defensive saves. The junior increases her career total to 16 stops, which ranks first in program history. Senior goalkeeper Rachel Gaines finished the regular season by ranking second in the MAC in goals against average (1.59) and save percentage (.784). The Kettering, Ohio native has made 98 saves in 2019, boosting her career total to 453 stops.
Appalachian concluded the 2019 regular season with an 8-3 record against nonconference opponents. The Mountaineers sported a perfect 5-0 record against Atlantic 10 opponents, notching victories over Davidson, Saint Francis, Lock Haven, La Salle and Saint Louis. App State also went undefeated in two games against Big East foes and earned a 3-2 win over Lafayette, who finished the regular season with a 5-1 conference record in the Patriot League.
A win on Wednesday would clinch App State’s first winning record since 2003, where the Mountaineers finished the season 12-8 as a member of the NORPAC.
Last Meeting Against Central Michigan
Appalachian defeated Central Michigan 5-2 on Oct. 4. App State’s three-goal victory marks its second-straight 5-2 win over the Chippewas, previously defeating CMU 5-2 in the opening round of the 2018 MAC Tournament. Senior Ali Williams secured a brace with two goals in the second period, helping App State carry a 4-1 lead into halftime. Smart, Stegen and junior Chloe Bell also tallied scores for the Mountaineers. Smart paced App State with five shots and two assists. Freshman Allison Corey registered the first defensive save of her career with a defensive save in the 22nd minute.
2019 MAC Field Hockey Championship Seeds
1. Kent State – 10-8 (5-1 MAC)
2. Miami – 11-7 (5-1 MAC)
3. Ohio – 8-7 (4-2 MAC)
4. Ball State – 5-12 (3-3 MAC)
5. Longwood – 8-9 (3-3 MAC)
6. Appalachian State – 9-8 (1-5 MAC)
7. Central Michigan – 2-16 (0-6 MAC)
2019 MAC Field Hockey Championship Schedule
Wednesday, November 6 (First Round)
Match 1 – #6 Appalachian State vs. #7 Central Michigan – Noon
Thursday, November 7 (Quarterfinals)
Match 2 – #4 Ball State vs. #5 Longwood – 10:30 a.m.
Match 3 – Match 1 Winner vs. #3 Ohio – 1:30 p.m.
Friday, November 8 (Semifinals)
Match 4 – #1 Kent State vs. Match 2 Winner – 11:30 a.m.
Match 5 – #2 Miami vs. Match 3 Winner – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 9 (Championship)
Match 6 – Match 4 Winner vs. Match 5 Winner – 2 p.m.