Adam Pruiett, Bellarmine University Athletics
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Bellarmine University field hockey team will welcome two programs this weekend to Owsley B. Frazier Stadium that couldn’t be more distinctively different.
Bellarmine (2-0) will lead off at noon (ET) Friday with Queens University of Charlotte (2-0), which is competing in its inaugural season in Division II following a year as a club team. The Knights will then face No. 8 Bloomsburg (2-1) at noon Saturday, a clash that pits BU against a 12-time DII national champion — 16 national titles overall — in a program that has existed since 1974.
Of course, Queens and Bloomsburg do have at least one thing in common this season: early success.
The Royals achieved victories in the first two NCAA matches in program history. Playing at home, Queens defeated Southern New Hampshire 2-1 before triumphing 1-0 over Belmont Abbey. Hanna Nechay has two goals for the Royals while Mazvita Mtisi has one goal and one assist.
Bloomsburg already has two signature victories, both in convincing fashion. Sandwiched around a 1-0 loss in overtime to Pace are a 5-1 win over No. 7 Adelphi and, most recently, a 3-0 triumph over top-ranked and defending national champion East Stroudsburg. Sam Peters has registered three goals while five other Huskies have recorded one. Goalkeeper Lindsay Cassel carries a .882 save percentage.
Like its two opponents, Bellarmine is off to a promising start to 2016. The Knights opened the season at Frazier Stadium with a 3-0 win over Seton Hill and followed with a 3-1 victory over Mercyhurst. They amassed 36 shots with 22 coming on goal while allowing only seven attempts with six coming on frame.
Freshman forward Merit Harris earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors after scoring twice against Seton Hill. The veterans took front and center against Mercyhurst, as seniors Kelsey O’Bryan, Kathryn Schneidtmiller and Aimee Ilgenfritz collected the goals. Freshman goalkeeper Brittanny Macnab is 2-0 with a 0.56 goals-against average for the Knights.