Friday, October 22, 2010

Five-Star Matchups

It's the penultimate weekend in the Conference regular season for field hockey, soccer and volleyball, while cross country prepares for next weekend's Centennial championship in Elkridge, Md. It's crunch time in the Conference and we take a look at the weekend's big games.

Men's Soccer
Might be easier to list the game that won't have an impact on the Centennial playoff chase on Saturday in the nation's toughest DIII conference (see poll if you don't believe us!). Five points separate the top seven teams in the CC with only five playoff spots available. Swarthmore (4-0-2 CC, 11-1-2), ranked first nationally by the NSCAA, has a two-point edge on Muhlenberg for first place and hosts McDaniel (2-4, 5-9). The #19 Mules (3-0-3, 8-0-6) - one of three unbeaten teams in the country along with Dominican and Wisconsin-Oshkosh - play host to Haverford (3-2-1, 7-4-2) who is tied with Dickinson and Gettysburg for fourth place. The Fords have not won in Allentown since 1969. The Red Devils (3-2-1, 9-3-2) and the Bullets (3-2-1, 4-8-1) square off in Carlisle for the 70th time in their series, while third-place Johns Hopkins (3-1-2, 10-2-3) welcomes Franklin & Marshall (2-1-3, 6-3-3) to the Charm City.

Washington at McDaniel (Field Hockey)
The Shorewomen (4-3, 6-8) and the Green Terror (3-4, 6-8) meet in a game for Free State bragging rights that could also determine both teams' playoff chances. McDaniel holds a 10-7 all-time lead, but Washington has taken two of the last three in Westminster, including a 3-2 decision in 2008. The Shorewomen are just 1-5 over their last six contests. Emily Trees leads WC in scoring with 7-3-17. Sarah Meszler tops the Terror scoring list with 7-1-15.

Gettysburg at Swarthmore (Field Hockey)
The Bullets (4-3, 6-8) and the Garnet (3-4, 6-9) are two of seven teams still in the hunt for the final two playoff berths and a win Saturday would go a long way to helping the cause. Gettysburg has won nine straight in the series to forge a 15-5 all-time advantage. Swarthmore's last win was a 4-2 triumph at home in 2000. Sarah Cole leads the Orange and Blue in scoring (6-2-14), while Katie Teleky (8-2-18) and Nia Jones (8-1-17) share the goal-scoring lead for the Garnet.

Gettysburg at Swarthmore (Volleyball)
Two-for-the-price-of-one as the Bullets (5-2, 14-12) and the Garnet (6-1, 16-8) also meet in a critical volleyball match at Tarble Pavilion on Saturday. The winner secures a Conference playoff berth and improves its chances for a first-round bye in the Centennial tournament in two weeks. History favors Gettysburg, as the Bullets have won all 28 previous meetings with Swarthmore. In fact, the Garnet has taken just one set in 17 matches (2006) since the formation of the Centennial in 1993. But this isn't your mother's Swat squad. Swarthmore leads the CC in hitting percentage (.210), led by Kathryn Montemurro (.330) and Genny Pezzola (2.95 kpg). Gettysburg's Nicole Burns in third in the Conference in hitting (.306).

Haverford at Dickinson (Women's Soccer)
All eyes in the Conference women's soccer world will be on Carlisle, as the Fords (5-2, 10-4) tangle with the Red Devils (6-1, 11-2-1). Dickinson sits alone in first place in the CC with 18 points, while six teams - including Haverford - are tied for second with 15. The home team has won this match-up in each of the last four years and the Fords hold a 13-8-4 series advantage that includes a 5-2 win at Dickinson in 2004. The Devil defense has been superb and has not surrendered a goal since Sept. 25 - a streak of seven games and 723:06. Genevieve Olson leads Dickinson in scoring with 7-5-19. Haverford's defense has recorded four consecutive shutouts. Meg Boyer leads the Fords in scoring (4-4-12).

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