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Oct. 27, 2012
Greensboro, N.C. (theACC.com) – North Carolina, which finished the regular season with a perfect 5-0 record in conference play, enters the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Field Hockey Championship as the top overall seed. The tournament, which gets under way Thursday, Nov. 1, will be held in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Tar Heels’ (17-1, 5-0 ACC) only defeat in 2012 came to then No. 7 Syracuse, a 1-0 overtime loss. North Carolina is led by Kelsey Kolojejchick and Charlotte Craddock on attack and reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year Caitlin Van Sickle on defense. Kolojejchick, the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, leads the country in assists per game (1.11), and the Tar Heels have the top ranked scoring offense in the country (4.65). Head coach Karen Shelton has won an ACC-high 17 conference championships, including last year’s title. North Carolina will have a first round bye and opens play Friday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Boston College and Wake Forest.
Virginia (15-3, 4-1) earned the No. 2 seed and will have a first round bye for the first time since 1998. The Cavaliers are led by Paige Selenski and Michelle Vittese, two members of the USA Field Hockey national team that competed at the London Olympics. Selenski leads the league in points per game (3.56) and goals per game (1.44), while Vittese anchors a defensive unit that ranks 15th in the country. Head coach Michele Madison and the Cavaliers will face the winner of Duke and Maryland on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Two-time defending national champion Maryland (14-4, 3-2) earned the No. 3 seed and will begin postseason play when it takes on sixth-seeded Duke on Thursday at 3:30. The Terrapin defense, led by goalkeeper Natalie Hunter and defender Harriet Tibble, has held eight opponents scoreless and ranks second in the country in shutouts per game (0.44). Head coach Missy Meharg, the 2011 NFHCA Division I National Coach of the Year, has won nine conference titles and seven national championships.
The Duke Blue Devils (7-10, 0-5) have been ranked as high as No. 5 in the country this year. Led by Paula Heimbach on defense and Emmie Le Marchand on attack, the Blue Devils will look to avenge a 2-0 loss to Maryland on Oct. 6 in the only other meeting this season between the two teams. Second year head coach Pam Bustin was named the ACC Coach of the Year after her first season in the league.
No. 5 Wake Forest will take on No. 4 Boston College on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. for the second time in less than a week. The two squads met on Friday, Oct. 26, with the Eagles winning a 2-1 decision. The Demon Deacons (8-10, 1-4) of head coach Jennifer Averill, who have been ranked in all but one poll this season, are led by 2011 ACC Freshman of the Year Anna Kozniuk.
Head coach Ainslee Lamb and the Boston College Eagles (10-8, 2-3) will be facing a familiar foe when they play Wake Forest as 2012 will mark the fifth consecutive year that the two teams will have met in the first round of the ACC Championship. Led by Chapin Duke and Virgynia Muma on offense and Paige Norris and Jacqui Moorfield on defense, the Eagles will be attempting to win the first ACC title in program history.
The 2012 ACC Field Hockey Championship will feature three of the top ten ranked teams in the nation, the winners of the last 10 national championships, and four of the top 10 winningest coaches in NCAA Division I Field Hockey history.
ACC fans will be able to watch all six games of the championship. On Thursday, both matches will be streamed live online on theACC.com and on ESPN3, and is also available on the WatchESPN mobile application. The semifinals on Friday and the final on Sunday will be broadcast on FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Florida, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, and NESN in the ACC footprint.
Single-day tickets are available for $5, and all-weekend tickets are $10. Students from an ACC school can enter for free with valid student identification.
Make sure to use the official hashtag, #ACCFH, and follow ACC Field Hockey on Twitter, @ACCFieldHockey, for news and updates during the championship.
For additional information, including directions, parking, and a full schedule, visit the ACC Field Hockey Championship page at http://theacc.co/FHChamp.