Back in the national spotlight, the Kenyon College Ladies are one of just 24 teams competing in the 2016 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship. They'll open play with Wednesday's 1:30 p.m. first-round game against the host Blue Jays of Elizabethtown College.
The appearance in the NCAA Championship is the fifth for the Kenyon program and the second in the last two seasons. The Ladies' most recent appearance was a first-round, 2-0, defeat to Messiah College at the end of the 2014 season. Overall, the Ladies are 1-4 in NCAA postseason games. Their lone win was a 1-0 overtime victory against Juniata College in 2006.
The Ladies, who now have a 14-6 record, earned their spot in this season's championship bracket by winning the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament. They entered that four-team tournament as the No. 3 seed and produced 2-1 overtime wins against No. 2-seeded Denison University in the semifinals and No. 1-seeded DePauw University in the finals.
The Kenyon women rely heavily on a solid back line anchored by goalkeeper Sarah Speroff '18. As a team, the Ladies rank 26th in the NCAA with a 1.16 goals against average and rank 19th with a 0.40 shutout average. Among all NCAA goalkeepers, Speroff ranks fifth with a .855 saves percentage.
Up top, Weezie Hutchinson '18 and Katelyn Hutchinson '18 steer the offense. Hutchinson leads the team with 11 goals, 6 assists and 28 points. Foster has 10 goals, 3 assists and 23 points. Overall, the Ladies average 2.05 goals per game.
Elizabethtown is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA Championship and its first since 2006. In their last trip to the national tournament, the Blue Jays defeated Lynchburg, 1-0, in an opening-round game before falling to The College of New Jersey, 5-0, in the second round.
The Blue Jays, owners of a 14-4 record, took their spot in the 2016 NCAA Championship by winning their first-ever Landmark Conference title. They did so by defeating Goucher College, 2-1, in the conference semifinals and then scoring a 2-1, double-overtime victory against Susquehanna University in the final.
Throughout its 2016 schedule, Elizabethtown scored an average of 2.72 goals per game, a mark that ranks 53rd among all NCAA Division III teams. Defensively, the Blue Jays sport a 1.35 goals against average, which ranks as the 53rd best output in the NCAA.
Emma Christman leads the team with 10 goals and 27 points. Charity Good has nine goals and Nicole Leaf owns a team-best nine assists.
Elizabethtown and Kenyon shared no common opponents this season and Wednesday's game will be the first-ever between the two teams. The winner of the opening-round game will move on to face Salisbury University (16-1), which will host second and third-round games on Saturday and Sunday.
Video and live stats for Wednesday's game at Elizabethtown can be viewed here.