It had been a long time since NCAA DII championship field hockey was played. Now that there has been a couple of months of action, as we head towards the final stretch of the regular season and the DII field hockey championship, we’ve learned one large lesson.
Shippensburg is still very good at field hockey.
Let’s look at what we’ve learned in 2021 with just about a month left on the schedule.
Shippensburg back on top in 2021
The Raiders were the winningest team of the past decade when it comes to championships. Shippensburg won four total and three-straight titles from 2016-18 before West Chester bumped it from its throne in 2019. With a season off to prepare, the Raiders are back with a vengeance.
Shippensburg heads into the weekend a perfect 11-0, but its resume over the past week shows how strong this team is. The Raiders took down No. 2 West Chester, then-No. 5 Kutztown and No. 3 Millersville in an eight-day swing. That shows us a team that is tournament ready.
Jazmin Petrantonio led DII field hockey in points per game in the last full season and is back on top in 2021. In fact, she’s totaling almost a half-point better per game with a 4.27 average, 1.27 points per game better than the next closest player — her teammate Jenna Sluymer. While goalkeeper Lindsay Tripodo isn’t atop the individual leaderboard, going 3-0 against top-5 competition — with two of those victories being shutouts at that — shows that Shippensburg is just fine in the net. The Raiders' final five games are against unranked opponents, so it will take quite the upset to knock them from their perch.
DII FIELD HOCKEY 2021: News, scores and updates
PSAC powers the top of the rankings
The top 5 is a total PSAC party. Here’s a look at the latest top 10 (Note: Record was at time of rankings, Tuesday, Oct. 12).
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- West Chester has been strong all season, sitting at 10-2. Let’s not forget, these Golden Rams are the reigning national champions and winners of three national championships in the past decade. Their two 2021 losses are against No. 1 Shippensburg, so we are all hoping that the Golden Rams and Raiders meet again in the PSAC tournament… and one more time in the DII tournament.
- How about those Marauders? Millersville was a seven-loss team in 2019 and are now up to No. 3 in the country. Its two losses came at the hands of Shippensburg and West Chester, so we are seeing a big improvement from this team. The main difference is in the offense. Last time out, the Marauders scored just 2.70 goals per game. This season, they are up to an impressive 4.33 average.
- East Stroudsburg handed Kutztown its third-straight loss its last time out and the Warriors now sit at 11-3 on the season. The Warriors are on a four-game tear with wins over two top-10 opponents over that span. With games against West Chester and Millersville remaining on the schedule, ESU will have its hands full but can make a large statement come the selection show.
The race for the NE10 field hockey title should be wild
While the PSAC dominates the national rankings, don’t overlook what’s happening in the NE10. Assumption remains perfect in conference play, but the next five teams behind the Greyhounds are all playing like DII tournament contenders. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
- The Greyhounds were a 16-5 team in 2019 and ended the season on a sour note with a pair of 1-0 losses in the NE10 semifinals and first round of the DII tournament. It appeared to carry over to 2021, dropping an opening day loss to No. 2 West Chester in overtime. Except Assumption hasn’t lost since. Winners of 12 in a row, the Greyhounds are led by impressive freshman Mia Salah who tops the team in goals and points. In fact, more than half her goals have come in the last four games so perhaps she is just getting warmed up.
- New Haven had a tough start to the season, but at 8-1 in conference play, the Chargers hold their destiny in their own hands. Three of their last five games are against nationally ranked teams, and that doesn’t include a Bentley team that is playing very well of late.
- You can’t forget about St. Anselm. The Hawks made program history in 2019 behind a 20-3 record and the school’s first appearance in the DII field hockey championship game. Sure, they already have as many losses as that magical season, but their path to the tournament can quickly change: The Hawks play New Haven and Assumption to close the season.
- Saint Michael’s is having a tough season, sitting at 4-9. That said, senior Jenna Puleo has been one of the best players in the nation. She leads DII field hockey with 13 assists and her 2.69 points per game are third in the division. Puleo is multi-dimensional, and her 11 goals are tied for second in the conference and third in DII. Simply put, Puleo is having a remarkable season.