Raiders prepare to square off against Pioneers
The Shippensburg University field hockey team is making its first appearance in the NCAA Division II field hockey championship for the first time since 2010. Its opponent is LIU Post, which is making its first-ever appearance in the title game.
The Pioneers enter the championship game at a pristine 21–0. They eeked out a 1–0 victory over Merrimack College in the semifinals. Earlier in the season, LIU Post defeated Merrimack in a 4–3 double overtime victory.
Coming off a conference championship loss to Millersville University, the Raiders were ready for the national semifinal against MU. The Marauders stole a conference title and shattered an undefeated season in the conference championship. In the national semifinal, SU showed who was really the top dog, winning 3–1.
SU’s Lauren Taylor is the No. 10 Division II goal scorer in the country, averaging .79 per game. LIU Post’s Carlee Dragon and Keliann Margiotta are Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
Dragon averages 1.55 goals per game while Margiotta’s average is 1.25. Dragon and Margiotta lead the country in Division II in assists per game with .80 and .75 averages, respectively. White ranks at No. 8 with a .58 average.
The Pioneers’ team leader is Dragon, followed by Margiotta. White and Taylor lead SU.
In LIU Post’s national semifinal, Dragon took four shots and Margiotta scored the Pioneers’ only goal.
The pair are LIU Post’s powerhouses. They lead the team in goals by at least 17. After Margiotta, the next highest goal scorer is Lyn-Marie Wilson with nine. Dragon and Margiotta are no doubt the team leaders, but SU has a more well-rounded team.
In SU’s semifinal, Taylor and White each took two shots on goal. Taylor and White both scored.
White and Taylor lead the Raiders statistically, but the gap between the two of them and the next person is slim. Taylor has 16 goals, White has 14 and Megan Jett has 11. After Jett is Taylor Bender with nine.
Dragon and Margiotta seem to be LIU Post’s entire team. If the Raiders shut them down, the Pioneers’ chances of winning drop drastically. After Dragon and Margiotta, the Pioneers and the Raiders are evenly matched.
But, if SU fails to shut Dragon and Margiotta down, Carenna Neely is going to have her hands. Neely has five shutouts on the season with 60 saves. LIU Post’s Meredith Stocklin has just as many shutouts and 47 saves.
The Raiders are still ranked No. 1 in all of Division II and LIU Post is No. 3.
LIU Post wins by just over three points every game and averages just over four points per game, No. 1 in the nation. SU’s scoring margin is 2.73 and it averages just over 3.5 in its scoring average.
This game will be within one point. The key for SU will be shutting down Dragon and Margiotta. If the Raiders successfully do that, they will be national champions and win 3–2.