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Women’s Soccer to Face Scranton in Regional Semifinals of NCAA Tournament

FROSTBURG, MD - Frostburg State, who has already had its most successful season in program history, will look to make national headlines on Saturday as they face the University of Scranton in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Royals come in ranked second in the nation and first in the Mid-Atlantic region

The Bobcats (16-4), who defeated Westminster in the first round on Wednesday 3-2, will face a Scranton team (20-0-1) that ranks first in the nation with a .976 winning percentage, a 0.094 goals against average and a 0.90 shutout percentage. Scranton has outscored their opponents 65-2 on the season and recently won their fifth straight Freedom Conference Championship.

Frostburg State, who recently won its third straight Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference title, is led by junior Karen Kotofski (Northeast/Glen Burnie, Md.). Kotofski, who was named the 2003 AMCC Player of the Year and selected to the 2003 Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-District II Second Team, has set four new school scoring records. She has guided the Bobcats to their current school-record winning-streak of 12 matches as she has recorded 10 goals in her last five contests.

This season she has set new school records in career goals (62) and career points (138), along with her single-season marks of 24 goals and 53 points, which surpass both of her previous records of 21 goals and 49 points that she set as a freshman in 2001.

Defensively the Bobcats are guided by sophomore Beth Hlebasko (Linganore/New Market, Md.) and senior goalkeeper Stephanie Zych (Guilderland/Slingerlands, N.Y.). Hlebasko leads a defensive unit that has completely shutdown opponents over the last twelve matches, allowing only ten goals and recording five shutouts.

“Beth had developed into a leader on the field, she can stay home defensively and completely shutdown the opponents attack or she can come forward and add help in the attack with her long serves,” said AMCC Coach of the Year Brian Parker.

Hlebasko, who was an All-AMCC first team selection, has recorded a career-high 13 assists this season ranking her second in the programs history.

In net, Zych has stepped up her game and proven why she is said to be the best goalie in FSU’s history. The career leader in wins (48), saves (431), and shutouts (19), Zych has proven time and time again that she will be there to make the big play in very critical situations.

With 21 minutes remaining in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Westminster and the game tied at 2-2, Zych made an incredible save on a solo breakaway that could have finished the Bobcats off.

“Zych is going to come up big in important situations on a regular basis to keep us in games,” said Parker. “She was as much of a hero against Westminster as anyone with a fantastic save on that breakaway.”

Zych, an eight time AMCC Goalkeeper of the Week, will be starting in her 67th straight match as she has compiled a career record of 48-21-4. She ranks first and second in games won in a single season, as she record 17 wins in 2001 and 16 so far this season.

The University of Scranton is led by junior Sara Suchoski who has recorded a team-high 20 goals, 13 assists, and 53 points. Suchoski recently scored her 61st career goal moving her into second place on the Scranton all-time scoring list. She was also named the Freedom Conference Player of the Year for the second straight season.

The Royals 20-win season is the most in program history. They have not dropped a conference match in their last 36 games dating back to October 22, 1998, as the Royals compiled a 35-0-1 conference record in that span.

In net the Royals rely on Kim McCormick, who ranks number one in the nation with an amazing 0.06 goals against average, as she has allowed just one goal in over 1,500 minutes played. She has also recorded a shutout in all 15 of her starts this season.

“Advancing to the regional semifinals is a big step for our program. It is the best teams in the country and we knew we would run into a brick wall sooner or later and it looks like that will be Scranton this weekend,” said Parker. “We know they have not allowed many goals, but we will do our research and try and counter their habits. We feel confident that we can compete with the Royals.”

The Bobcats and the Royals will face off at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 15th in Allentown, PA on the campus of Muhlenburg College, with the winner moving on to the regional championship game on Sunday against the winner of Muhlenburg and Eastern Connecticut State.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780