November 8, 2010

Grove City men, women earn ECAC soccer bids

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College men's and women's soccer teams have each been invited to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Championship Tournament. Each team received its berth Monday afternoon from the ECAC Selection Committee.

The women's team earned the No. 2 seed in the eight-team tournament and will host No. 7 Misericordia Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the quarterfinals. On the men's side, Grove City is the seventh seed in the eight-team bracket. The Wolverines will visit Presidents' Athletic Conference rival Washington & Jefferson Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in a quarterfinal clash.

The women's team is making its third appearance in the ECAC Tournament since 2007, when the Wolverines earned the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the tournament. Grove City compiled an 11-7-1 mark this year, including a 5-3 record in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. The Wolverines advanced to the semifinals of the PAC Championship Tournament before falling to eventual champion W&J in a shootout.

Grove City leads the conference with 70 goals this year while yielding a mere 0.95 goals per match. Senior forward Hannah Yang (Davis, Calif./Davis) leads the Wolverines with 17 goals while junior forward Emily Hurley (Indiana, Pa./Indiana) has 11 goals.

Sophomore Grace Rieman (Arlington, Va./Homeschooled) leads Grove City with a dozen assists. She has also scored four times this year. Senior midfielder Emily Ostlund (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins) and junior midfielder Morgan Osterhouse (Westminster, Md./Francis Scott Key) each own six goals.

Defensively, seniors Hannah Hertweck (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Olympia), Laura Novosel (New Wilmington, Pa./Wilmington) and Courtney Sicher (Moneta, Va./Franklin County) have helped anchor a unit that recorded nine shutouts this season. Freshman goalkeeper Tiffany Yost (Christiana, Pa./Living Word) started all 19 matches this year and ranks among the conference leaders in wins, shutouts and save percentage.

Misericordia enters Wednesday match with a 12-6-2 overall record. The Cougars opened the season 8-1-1 and reached the semifinals of the Freedom Conference Tournament. Senior forward Kim Suchoski leads the squad with 15 goals while sophomore midfielder Laura Roney has posted seven goals and 11 assists.

The Grove City-Misericordia winner will play either No. 3 Penn State Behrend or No. 6 Marywood in Saturday's semifinals. Frostburg State (15-4) is the top seed and will host No. 8 Lebanon Valley (10-8-2) in one quarterfinal. The winner of that match plays No. 4 Alvernia (10-5-4) or fifth-seeded Cabrini (14-3-1). The highest remaining seed after Wednesday's quarterfinals will host the final two rounds this weekend.

The Grove City men are making their first postseason appearance since reaching the ECAC Tournament semifinals in 2006. The Wolverines recorded a 13-5-2 record in the regular season and went 6-1 in conference play. That lone loss came at W&J in the conference opener, 2-1, October 2.

A balanced attack has carried Grove City this season as 17 players have combined to score 46 total goals. Senior midfielder Chuck Witt (Dillsburg, Pa./Northern) leads the team with 10 goals and senior forward Jake Kern (Fairfield, Pa./Fairfield) has tallied six goals and a team-high six assists.

Defensively, Grove City ranks second in the PAC with nine shutouts. Senior backs Zach Barzanty (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette) and Dave Larkin (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) have helped the Wolverines post the conference's best goals-against average as foes are scoring just 0.79 goals per match. Freshman goalkeeper Chris Burgan (North Huntingdon, Pa./Trinity Christian) leads the conference with nine shutouts and ranks second with an .842 save percentage.

W&J (12-3-3) ranks second to Grove City in defense, boasting an 0.80 goals-against average. Mike Pappas leads the Presidents with 10 goals this season. W&J went 7-0 in the conference this year but dropped a shootout decision to Thomas More in the semifinal round of the conference tournament.

The winner of the Grove City-W&J match will play either No. 3 Marywood (13-5-1) or No. 6 Misericordia (11-8) in the semifinals Saturday. Penn State Behrend (14-2-4) is the top seed and will host No. 8 Bethany (10-10-1) in the quarterfinals. The other quarterfinal pits fourth-seeded Stevenson (11-5-3) against No. 5 Lebanon Valley (9-8-1).

The highest remaining seed after Wednesday's quarterfinals will host Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's championship match. Grove City won the 1996 ECAC title and reached the ECAC championship match in 2005.

Women's Bracket            Men's Bracket

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