NCAC Tournament Preview: Field Hockey

NCAC Tournament Preview: Field Hockey

Greencastle, Ind. -- DePauw enters the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament on Wednesday as the No. 2 seed among three other teams that have seen its fair share of battles this season.

At 13-4 overall and 12-2 in the NCAC, the Tigers have had to face their two biggest challenges on the same weekend twice this year in No. 1 seed Kenyon and No. 3 seed Denison. They face Denison in the opening round on Wednesday.

On the weekend of Sept. 26-27, DePauw played two away games ­­– a 2-1 win over Denison and a 1-0 loss to Kenyon.

A month later on the weekend of Oct. 24-25, DePauw got revenge on Kenyon 3-0 but lost to Denison 2-1 in overtime. The loss to Denison broke a season high six-game winning streak for the Tigers as the Big Red came from behind at 1-0 to win in overtime.

DePauw has a 3-2 record in overtime this year. They enter the tournament currently riding a two-game winning streak, ending the season strong with a 3-2 win over Ohio Wesleyan.

Paige Berliner has emerged as the team's biggest offensive threat with 18 goals, eight assists and 44 points. All are team-highs, while Berliner in the conference leader in goals and points.

However, opposing teams cannot sleep on Reilly Bruce (14 goals, 30 points) and seniors Grace Goodbarn (six goals, six assists) and Natalie Abbott (five goals, 13 points).

DePauw leads the conference in goals scored (66), assists (36) and goals per game (3.9).

Looking at the other side of the bracket, Kenyon will look to defeat Wittenberg for the third time this season after taking 5-1 and 2-1 victories.

Last year's tournament saw the same teams squaring off. Kenyon and Denison both took 2-0 wins in the first round before Kenyon claimed the title and the automatic NCAA Tournament bid with a 1-0 win in the championship.

DePauw hosts Denison at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The winner will advance to the championship on Saturday with the time TBA. The host will be the highest remaining seed.

Tourney Notes: The tournament winner receives the NCAC's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament ... Kenyon, making its third-straight appearance in the tournament, is the defending champion after winning its third tournament crown last year ...  Denison is appearing in the tournament for the seventh-consecutive season and 11th time overall ... DePauw returns to the tournament for the fifth-straight time and is looking for its third tournament title in four years ... Wittenberg is making its second-straight and 12th overall appearance in the tournament.