CUA welcomes Eastern on Wednesday in first NCAA Tournament

CUA welcomes Eastern on Wednesday in first NCAA Tournament

WASHINGTON – CUA will play in its first-ever NCAA Tournament on Wednesday when the Cardinals host Eastern in this year's first round.  CUA defeated Drew 5-1 on November 5 in the Landmark Conference championship to claim its first conference title and NCAA Tournament bid.

CUA has been on a roll the last two months, piling up 12 consecutive victories, including two last week in the conference tournament.  The Cardinals defeated Juniata 2-1 in overtime in a hard-fought semifinal match on November 2 to advance to their third conference championship in the last four seasons.

Three days later, CUA punched its tournament ticket with a dominating 5-1 victory over Drew at home in the championship.  The Cardinals jumped on top of the Rangers 3-0 in the opening 22 minutes of the contest and cruised from there.  Mary Swarthout led the way offensively with two scores, while Colleen Harwood, Tracey Scanlon and Katie Bertrand also found the back of the cage.

CUA has four double-digit goal scorers on its roster, including Harwood (14), Swarthout (11), Kim Hermann (11) and Scanlon (10).  The Cardinals enter Wednesday's game averaging 3.88 goals per game, which ranks 10th nationally.  During its 12-game winning streak, CUA is averaging 4 goals per game, including a season-high 10 vs. Goucher.

Defensively, the Cardinals are once again a stingy unit, holding teams to 0.64 goals per game, good for fifth in America.  The Cardinals have shut out eight opponents in 2011 and currently rank fifth nationally in scoring margin (3.19) and fourth in save percentage (0.869).

CUA has not lost at home this season, posting a perfect 10-0 record and dating back to last season, the Cardinals have won 16 straight games inside Cardinal Stadium.

Eastern enters the NCAA Tournament with a record of 12-8, which includes wins in its last five games.  The Eagles have captured each of the last four Freedom Conference championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory vs. FDU-Florham this season.

Brittany Moyer (12), Yvonne Herbster (11) and Abby Wagner (10) lead Eastern in goals, with Herbster dishing out a team best 13 assists.  Defensively, the Eagles are surrendering 2.45 goals per contest, but during their five-game winning streak, that number has fallen to only 1 goal per game.

One interesting stat to keep an eye on in Wednesday's game will be penalty corners. CUA is second in the country, averaging 14.65 per game, while Eastern checks in at No. 8, with 13.3 per game.

CUA and Eastern have faced just one common opponent this season in Rowan.  CUA suffered its lone loss of the year against the Profs back in September, while the Eagles earned a 5-4 win at home that same month.

The Cardinals and Eagles will get things started at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday from inside Cardinal Stadium.  The winner of the contest will move onto the second/third rounds, which will be hosted by The College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J.  Wednesday's winner will take on Lynchburg on Saturday, November 12 at a time to be determined.