The US college hockey season is down to its final 19 teams with plenty of Irish still in the mix for the title following the conclusion of the respective conferences with plenty landing regional titles.Lisa McCarthy led Northwestern University to the last 16 with the first goal in the final of the Big Ten conference, helping the Wildcats beat Maryland 3-1 in Ann Arbor. She and Juliet Beatty are now bound for a date with Duke University on November 15.
Roisin Upton, a winner with the Uconn Huskies of the NCAA title last year, is vying for a second successive overall crown after her team annexed the Big East tournament title with a 3-1 win over Providence. It puts them through to a last 16 date against either Delaware or Kent State on Saturday.
Richmond Spiders’ Rebecca Barry memorable stint in the US is set for another game at least following her game winning goal against Umass last weekend in a 1-0 win to land the Spiders’ eighth Atlantic 10 Championship.
Named recently as the Senior A-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Barry struck in extra-time with a backhand effort for the only goal of the tie.
“I can’t hide how delighted I am. I did speak all season about the team and it was the team that won this championship. It’s unbelievable,” she said afterwards.
Along with Amy Cooke, their Spiders progress to the NCAA championships with a play-in game against the Liberty Flames on Wednesday afternoon for the right to play in the last 16 of the US competition.
Liberty earned its automatic berth by winning the NorPac Championship by defeating Stanford, 1-0 with the Barr sisters Bethany, Serena and Natalie – all Lurgan graduates – playing key roles.
Bethany ranks third on the team with 17 points (seven goals, three assists) to round out Liberty’s top offensive weapons.
The winner of their match-up with Richmond will play the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round Saturday, November 15 in Chapel Hill.
In the bottom half of the draw, Emma Russell’s Syracuse are through to play Boston College in their last 16 game. She has been their star player of late, netting a tournament record six times in the ACC championship finals, including an overtime win over top-rated North Carolina.
The Enniskerry native had a historic night the day before, scoring an ACC Championship single-game record four goals in the quarterfinals against Boston College, avenging one of the team’s four regular-season losses, bringing her record to 13 goals in nine games.
“I think our forwards and midfield’s movement is really good right now,” commented Russell.
“Our midfielders are feeding the ball really well. We are working off each other well. It makes our forwards’ jobs easier. In the forward line, we are just communicating a lot more. It’s just clicking, it really is.”
The side fell to Wake Forest in the final of their championship, 2-0, but will be confident in their rematch with Boston. Boston College have Mount Anville’s Philippa Cotter part of their panel.
Trish O’Dwyer, with University of Monmouth, was part of a side that made history when they took down the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Regular Season and Tournament Championship.
It earned them a play-in game against Princeton for a place in the sweet 16. They are on a six-game winning streak with O’Dwyer becoming the college’s all-time leading points scorer (a tally of goals and assists) in the process. They beat Rider University 6-1 to land their conference crown.
The 2014 NCAA Championship game will be played Sunday, November 23 at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Stadium on the campus of the University of Maryland.