FROSTBURG, MD —
The Frostburg State women's soccer team hopes their third opportunity at a postseason win proves to be the charm when it travels to New Wilmington, Pa., on Wednesday for a meeting with Westminster (Pa.) College in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament at 1:00 pm.
The Bobcats, who earned their first postseason berth in 1998 and fell to Muhlenberg, 6-1, in the ECAC South Region Tournament, are making a second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
FSU lost to national powerhouse and then 11th-ranked Messiah, 7-0, in last year's Big Dance, but more familiarity with this year's opponent has the Bobcats feeling confident about turning in a better showing this time.
Frostburg State, 10-7-4 and winners of its second straight Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference title, and Westminster, 15-5-2 and champions of the Presidents' Athletic Conference for the first time, met earlier this season, with the Titans taking a 3-2 victory at home September 10.
WC opened a 2-0 lead before the Bobcats scored twice in the second half to pull even. However, the Titans notched the game-winner off a breakaway with five minutes left to claim the victory.
"Last year's (NCAA) experience is a sour memory for some of our veterans, not so much in the effort, but in the fact that we ran into a buzzsaw in Messiah in the first game," said FSU first-year head coach Brian Parker. "This year, we're excited about the fact that we know our competition from having played them already this season."
While familiarity will help, so will sophomore striker Karen Kotofski, who sat out the first meeting with Westminster due to injury. Kotofski, who missed FSU's first five games of the season, has been on fire since her return to the lineup, scoring a team-high 16 goals in her 16 games and earning first-team All-AMCC honors.
The Bobcat defense has held opponents to 1.33 goals per game. Junior Stephanie Zych, the school's all-time leader in wins (32), shutouts (14) and saves (336), boasts a 1.31 goals against average and four shutouts against the toughest schedule in school history.
Westminster enters their first-ever NCAA Tournament on a tear, posting a 15-1-2 record since opening the season with four straight losses. The Titans have outscored their opponents, 71-20, this year and have recorded shutouts in 11 of their last 13 contests.
FSU will look to contain senior forwards Tammy Newell (20 goals, 7 assists, 47 points) and Katie Krone (17-11-45) while trying to get past sophomore goalkeeper Nicole Drummond, who boasts a 0.44 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
"Both teams won their conference and bring a lot of momentum into the match," Parker added. "This should be a very competitive and even contest."
Wednesday's winner will advance to the Great Lakes Region semifinals to face defending national champion Ohio Wesleyan (19-0-0), currently the nation's top-ranked team, on Saturday at 5:00 pm at regional host Wilmington (Ohio) College.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303