BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University field hockey (6-0) returns to Brandon & Erica M. Adcock Field for a four-game home stand spanning two-straight weekends. The Mountaineers open the home stand with their Mid-American Conference opener against Ohio (3-1) on Friday at 6 p.m. before hosting No. 1 North Carolina (5-0) on Sunday at noon.
During Friday’s game, the Mountaineers will wear gold shoelaces to raise awareness for Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer. Please check out this link to visit the team’s donation page: bit.ly/2m2D3ki.
About the Mountaineers
The Mountaineers have opened their 51st season with six-straight wins, which ranks as the best start in program history. Appalachian’s six-game winning streak is also the team’s first since reeling off six-straight wins to close out the end of the 1985 season. App State earned its fourth and fifth victories of 2019 with two more shutouts this past weekend, boosting its shutout percentage to No. 1 in the nation at 83 percent.
App State posted two 1-0 victories in Pennsylvania over the weekend, defeating Saint Francis and Lock Haven for the first time in school history. Junior Veerle Van Heertum scored the game-winning goal just three minutes into the second half in Friday’s win at Saint Francis. The Mountaineers dominated the shot count 24-3 while also holding a 9-3 advantage in penalty corners.
App State then notched a shootout victory over Lock Haven, where senior goalkeeper Rachel Gaines stopped all five Lock Haven penalty stroke attempts. Sophomore Friederike Stegen registered the winning penalty stroke with a crafty spin move before firing the ball into the goal cage.
After posting two more shutouts in goal this weekend, Gaines earned her second Mid-American Conference Field Hockey Defensive Player of the Week award of the season. The Kettering, Ohio native ranks first in the nation in save percentage (.926), goals against average (0.32) and shutout percentage (0.83). Gaines’ honor also makes her the first App State player to win two MAC Player of the Week awards in the same season.
Scouting Ohio (3-1)
Ohio has started the season 3-1 for the first time since 2011, which was when the Bobcats opened the season with six-straight victories in a 20-win campaign. Ohio has two victories over two shared opponents between the Mountaineers and Bobcats. Ohio notched a 3-0 victory at Davidson before knocking off Lock Haven 4-0 at home. The Mountaineers also defeated both opponents, registering a 3-0 win over the Wildcats and a 1-0 win in a shootout at Lock Haven. Redshirt-senior Kendall Ballard leads the Bobcats with nine points, compiling a team-high three goals and three assists through four games. Junior Leah Warren and freshman Katelyn Whittle tie for second on the team with a pair of goals each. Head coach Ali Johnstone, a 2002 alumna of Ohio, begins her second full season as the Bobcats’ head coach.
Scouting North Carolina (5-0)
No. 1 North Carolina has not lost a game since falling 2-1 to Connecticut in the 2017 NCAA Field Hockey Tournament semifinals. The Tar Heels went 23-0 in 2018, clinching their seventh national championship in program history. North Carolina is off to another undefeated start, knocking off three teams ranked inside the top 10 of the NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll. Sophomore Erin Matson leads the Tar Heels with 18 points, recording six goals and six assists. Senior Catherine Hayden has also recorded six goals, ranking second on the team with 12 points. North Carolina’s high-powered attack tops the nation in goals per game, averaging 4.80 goals per contest. Head coach Karen Shelton enters her 39th season in charge of the Tar Heels. Shelton coached App State head coach Meghan Dawson from 2007-11, where Dawson made four Final Fours and won two national titles.
Ohio –The Mountaineers have played the Bobcats three times since 2015, holding a 1-2 record against Ohio. App State is 1-1 against the Bobcats since joining the MAC in 2017, earning their first victory in MAC competition with a 3-2 victory over Ohio at home. Meghan Smart tallied the game-winning goal in 2017, while former Mountaineer Taylor Cimbalist secured a brace in the victory.
North Carolina – The Mountaineers are 0-10 against the Tar Heels since 2000. App State last defeated UNC in 1976, defeating the Tar Heels 3-1 to cap of an 8-5-3 season. The Mountaineers also ousted North Carolina in 1975, notching a 2-1 victory.
The Mountaineers close out their longest home stand of the season when they host reigning Mid-American Conference champion Miami on Sept. 27 and La Salle on Sept. 29.