Top 10 Preview
Defending champion Tufts looks to avoid second loss of season
Some of the nation’s top teams have survived some close calls in recent games, and will try to avoid being upset this weekend. Top games this weekend include defending national champions and current No. 5 Tufts playing No. 6 Middlebury.
No. 1 Montclair State
The Red Hawks had their closest call of the season in their last game, a 3-2 win against Stevens Institute after having a 4.5-goal cushion against its previous nine opponents. Montclair State would take a similar result on Saturday when it travels to Rowan. Montclair State blanked Rowan 3-0 when the teams met last season.
Jennifer Tafro has a team-high 11 goals and 27 points. The lead in assists goes to Stephanie Lewis, who has seven. In goal, Rebecca Brattole has a .73 goals-against average and three shutouts to go along with her 10-0 record.
No. 2 Franklin & Marshall
After starting the season at No. 7 in the NFHCA poll, the Diplomats are now one Montclair State slip-up from taking the top spot. But the Diplomats will need to keep winning in order for that to possibly happen. Their next chance for a win comes on Saturday when it hosts Haverford. F&M carries a four-game winning streak into its matchup opposite Haverford, including a 4-1 victory in last year's CC semifinals, and hold a 23-7-1 advantage in the series.
Maria Guarisco leads the Diplomats with eight goals, five assists and 21 points. Senior Avery Koep has started all but one game in goal and has given up just four goals while making 20 saves for a .833 save percentage.
No. 3 William Smith
Saturday could be a historic day for the Herons. A win against Union (N.Y.) would give William Smith head coach Sally Scanton the 400th win as head coach of the Herons. Based on what happened last year, it appears that Scanton is in a good position to get that win as the Herons blanked Union 3-0 in 2012.
Taylor Cappello has the team lead in both goals (eight) and points (21) and is two behind Melanie O’Connor for the lead in assists (seven). Amy Feda has stopped two-thirds of the 33 shots on goal she has faced this season in her eight starts.
No. 4 Bowdoin
The Polar Bears have won their previous four games and will go for their fifth in a row on Saturday when it travels to Trinity (Conn.). In three of those games, Bowdoin has scored at least seven goals and shutout two of those teams. The Polar Bears were able to squeak by Trinity last season and picked up a 3-2 victory.
Rachel Kennedy has a slight 8-7 lead on Emily Simolton for the team lead in goals. Neither one has the team lead in points though, as Katie Riley’s five goals and 10 assists gives her the lead with 20 points.
No. 5 Tufts
The defending national champions responded to their first loss of the season with a 1-0 victory against Trinity (Conn.) last weekend. This weekend has a bigger test for the Jumbos, who hos sixth-ranked Middlebury on Saturday. The Jumbos have not had multiple losses in the regular season since 2011.
The Jumbos are giving up an average of .86 goals per game thanks in large part to goaltender Bri Keenan. She has made 29 saves while giving up six goals, good for a .829 save percentage. Dakota Sikes-Keilp leads the offense with eight goals.
No. 6 Middlebury
The Panthers are another team riding a four-game winning streak, and look to extend it on Saturday against Tufts. Only the Panthers beat Tufts last season in the regular season in the Jumbos’ national-championship winning season. Middlebury has shutout two of its past three opponents.
Catherine Fowler has a large lead on goals, with her 10 being twice as many as any other Panther. Katherine Theiss and Bridget Instrum have identical stats, each with five goals and three assists to tie for second on the team with 13 points.
No. 7 Salisbury
No. 8 Mary Washington
Despite having a 10-0 record, Mary Washington has not been able to move up the rankings and checks in at No. 8 for the second consecutive week. A win Saturday at York (Pa.) may help it move up in the NFHCA poll should a team ahead of it lose this weekend. Last season, the Eagles picked up a 3-0 win against York.
Jenna Steele and Caitlin Baker each have the team lead in goals with nine apiece though Haley Kane is right behind them with eight goals. In goal for the Eagles, Emily Badis has made 44 saves and has a .880 save percentage.
No. 9 TCNJ
The Lions have cracked the top 10 of the NFHCA poll for the first time this season. In its first game as the ninth-ranked team, TCNJ took care of Manhattanville 6-0 on Monday and will stay on the road to face William Patterson on Friday. The Lions have won eight in a row after dropping their first game of the season.
Goaltender Amanda Krause, who has started all nine games and played 600 minutes, has only allowed six goals while making 32 saves for a .842 save percentage. On offense, Erin Healy leads the team with 10 goals and three assists while Lexi Smith has added seven goals and one assist.
No. 10 Christopher Newport
After getting multi-goal wins in its first 10 games of the season, the Captains had to come from behind to pick up a 3-2 win against Catholic on Tuesday. The Captains will now go on the road this weekend and travel to St. Mary’s (Md.) while looking to go to 12-0.
Christopher Newport has outshot its opponent by an average of 20 per game and Lauren Cheatham leads the team with 12 goals. She has a three-point advantage against Belle Tunstall (nine goals, seven assists) for the team lead. Bailey Lane has held opponents to .65 goals per game behind 40 saves and six goals allowed.