Mike Orazzi


Congratulations 2023 College Division III Conference Winners

With post-season conference tournaments finishing this past weekend, USA Field Hockey is highlighting each conference champion in Division III.

Bill Wood

No. 1 seed St. Mary’s finally claimed the Atlantic East Conference crown after falling short in the final for the past two seasons.

With the number two seed, St. Mary’s received a bye in the first round of the conference tournament, then defeated No. 4 Cabrini (their opponent in the past two final losses) 1-0. In the close match-up, a second quarter goal from senior captain Audrey Dickens proved to be the deciding factor for the Seahawks. In similar fashion, St. Mary’s found themselves in an evenly matched game in the final against No. 2 seed Marywood. This time, it was sophomore Briana Allen who lifted the Seahawks to a 1-0 victory over the Pacers. Dickens was named the tournament MVP.

Alongside their first ever Atlantic East Conference title, the Seahawks will also be making their first NCAA Tournament appearance with the automatic bid. St. Mary’s record so far this season is 13-5.

Centennial Conference: Johns Hopkins

With a 3-0 shutout over Swarthmore, No. 4 nationally ranked Johns Hopkins secured their fifth consecutive Centennial Conference championship title.

After finishing as runner-up in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, Johns Hopkins will look to make another run after securing their conference’s automatic bid. The Blue Jays took down last year’s Centennial Conference final opponent Bryn Mawr 2-0 in the semifinal, off of a pair of goals from junior Liz Falterer. It was a big win in the championship match against No. 2 seed Swarthmore, with three different Blue Jays tallying a goal in the 3-0 shutout. The victory also marked a milestone – John Hopkins’ 500th win in program history. 

The Blue Jays have added to their impressive record, now 18-1, with their only loss on the season being to York back in early September. 

Erin Farina

Coast to Coast Conference: Christopher Newport

Christopher Newport continued their unbeaten season by shutting out Salisbury 2-0 in the Coast to Coast Conference Championship. 

After winning the No. 1 seed and receiving a bye in the first round of the small three-team conference tournament, Christopher Newport faced rival No. 2 seed Salisbury in the final. It was a strong defensive effort for both teams, with no score until the final seconds of the third quarter. It was graduate transfer Alexis Morales who broke open the scoring for Christopher Newport, with Abby Asuncion following it up with an insurance goal in the fourth. 

For her work defensively and offensively, Morales was honored as the tournament MVP, and was joined on the All-Tournament team by Katie Abendschoen, Courtney Hughlett, and Asuncion. 

Now 17-0 on the season, Christopher Newport is one of two teams left in the NCAA that is undefeated – the other being Middlebury. The Captain’s impressive season so far has led to a current spot at number three on the national rankings.

Commonwealth Coast Conference: Endicott

After losing to Roger Williams earlier this season, Endicott got revenge with a 2-1 victory to claim their sixth Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title in program history.

Settling into the No. 2 seed spot with their lone regular season to Roger Williams, Endicott began their postseason with a semifinal match against No. 3 seed University of New England. The Gulls took down the Nor’easters 3-1 to advance to the CCC final for the sixth consecutive year. It was the University of New England who had taken down Endicott in overtime, 3-2, to claim last season’s title. Moving on, the Gulls faced No. 1 seed Roger Williams – outlasting them with two early goals within the first eight minutes of play. Tori Swanson and Maddy Dengler both netted a goal, while the defense limited the Hawks to just two shots on goal. 

With the win, Endicott moves to 16-4 on the season – undefeated 8-0 on the road – and receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Empire 8: Hartwick

Hartwick became back-to-back Empire 8 champions after a win over No. 1 seed St. John Fisher on Saturday. 

A 3-1 semifinal victory over No. 3 seed Houghton propelled No. 2 seed Hartwick to the final and a chance to win their second straight Empire 8 championship. The Hawks avenged their lone conference loss of the season, a 2-1 heartbreaker to St. John Fisher back in October, by defeating the Cardinals by the same score of 2-1 in the final. This time, it was Hartwick who scored two goals to start – one from senior Julie Ruzzi and a second from sophomore Caroline Aspuru, both off of penalty corners. Ruzzi was honored as the Empire 8 tournament MVP.

The Hawks picked up their sixth Empire 8 championship trophy in program history, and now have a 12-5 record on the season.

Mike Orazzi

Great Northeast Athletic Conference: Johnson & Wales

No. 1 seed Johnson & Wales won three straight matches to claim their third consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) title.

Starting off with a match-up against No. 8 seed Regis, No. 1 seed Johnson & Wales took a comfortable 8-1 victory, which included a hat trick from graduate student Margaret Johnson. The semifinal was much closer – as 1-0 shutout over No. 5 seed New England College. A goal in the third quarter from freshman Rayne Millett  helped propel the Wildcats to the GNAC title match.

A strong offensive outing from Johnson & Wales sealed the deal with a win over No. 3 seed Colby Sawyer. It was a combined effort from veteran and novice alike, with Johnson notching a goal and an assist alongside goals from freshmen Millett and Ava Pontes, as well as sophomore Kameron Marando. Johnson, along with Katie Sloan and defenders Haley Budenas and Madison Young, were all named to the All-Tournament team.  Johnson was recognized as the MVP. 

The Wildcats will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 17-2 record.

Landmark Conference: Susquehanna

Suquehanna fought for 80 minutes against a talented Scranton team, eventually winning the title of Landmark Conference champion in penalty shootouts.

After taking down No. 4 Moravian 3-2 in the semifinal, No. 1 seed Susquehanna returned to the Landmark final for the first time since 2019 – facing No. 3 Scranton, who they had lost to that last appearance. It was an intense and evenly matched game – both teams tallied 11 penalty corners, while Scranton led slightly in shots, 15-10. Susquehanna trailed for a large portion of regulation after a Scranton goal in the 11th minute, but first-year Taylor Rothermel found the equalizer with just two minutes left in the match. After two scoreless overtimes, the two teams entered into penalty shootouts, where River Hawk goalkeeper Ashley Derrick came up big with four out of five stops. For her heroics in goal throughout the match, Derrick was named the tournament MVP. 

The River Hawks move on with an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, while improving their record to 15-5.

Rich Barnes

Liberty League: William Smith

Top-seeded Ithaca entered the postseason ranked No. 25 in the NFHCA polls, but it was William Smith who defended their 2022 Liberty League crown with a 1-0 win over the Bombers behind a sixth-minute goal from Mackenzie Wodka.

Wodka’s goal off of a penalty corner stood the test of time as the Herons’ defense impressed. Kristen McCormick registered three saves in the cage, while Cora Nagle earned the Championship’s Most Outstanding Player award for her efforts in midfield. It was an identical scoreline to when the two sides met back in mid-October.

William Smith reached the finals after a dramatic 1-0 victory over Rochester in the semifinal round. The Herons got a third-quarter goal from Kate Barilla in that victory while McCormick had a pair of saves in what was the first of back-to-back shutouts.

William Smith has won consecutive Liberty League championships for the first time since they won four straight from 2004-07. The Herons have a three-game winning streak to bring to the NCAA Tournament and sit at 13-7 on the year. 

Deja Driscoll Smith

Little East: Southern Maine

For the first time in 20 years, the Little East Championship belongs to Southern Maine. The top-seeded Huskies got the job done with a 1-0 shutout of Keene State, finally claiming their second conference title with the first coming back in 2003.

Southern Maine’s Hannah Banks scored the game-winner in the 44th minute, lifting the Huskies past the Owls in a gritty defensive battle. Banks’ heroics earned her the LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player award. Julianna Kiklis turned away six shots in the cage for the Huskies, while Taylor Leclerc and Jordan Cummings had defensive saves — the former clearing a ball off the goal line.

It was a similar story in the semifinals against Vermont State University - Castleton, the team that Southern Maine lost to in last year’s LEC Championship Game. The Huskies trailed after just three minutes and couldn’t find an equalizer until Brooke Carson’s goal in the third quarter. The 1-1 scoreline persisted until Carson again broke through, winning it in overtime.

Southern Maine finished with eight wins in eight games against LEC foes. They’ve won three straight and sit at 15-7 entering the NCAA Tournament.

Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference: Worcester State

The inaugural MASCAC Tournament saw top-seeded Worcester State beat No. 3 Framingham State for the third time this year, claiming the title with a 2-0 shutout win.

The Lancers outshot their opponents, 19-1, and got goals from Natalya Morin and Madison Avilla in the third and fourth quarter, respectively. It wasn’t a game without drama, despite the shot difference. When the game was still scoreless, the Rams’ nearly took a 1-0 lead before Maddie Parker came up with a massive goal line save. That set up Morin and Avilla’s heroics later in the game.

Worcester State beat Salem State, 4-1, in the semifinals. The sweep of the MASCAC tournament was impressive for the Lancers in their first year after moving from the Little East. They’d been eliminated in the LEC semifinals in back-to-back seasons and were looking for their first conference title since 2019.

The Lancers have won six straight games and sit at 13-6 heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Mid-Atlantic Conference Commonwealth: Messiah

For a jaw-dropping 16th tournament in a row, Messiah was crowned as MAC Commonwealth champions thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over York. The matchup of ranked teams — No. 5 Messiah and No. 8 York — didn’t disappoint.

The Falcons’ 12th win in a row — and 29th all-time MAC Commonwealth crown — came thanks to Nicole Shank’s sixth-minute goal. Shank, who earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award, tallied off of a penalty corner from the top of the circle. 

York put up an admirable fight in a rematch of the 2022 Commonwealth Championship — one that Messiah also won, 2-0 — but couldn’t crack the Falcons’ defense. Catie Brubaker had two saves for Messiah and logged her second shutout in as many games against York after beating them in the regular season finale.

Messiah reached the final after rolling past fourth-seeded Stevenson, 6-1. Five different players scored for the Falcons’ in that win, headlined by a two-goal effort from Hailey Womer.

Messiah, winning streak intact, enters the NCAA Tournament with a sterling 17-1 record and haven’t lost since September 20th.

Sid Rochlani

Mid-Atlantic Conference Freedom: Stevens

In the very first minute of the MAC Freedom title game, Stevens forward Sophia Cozza fired a shot past the DeSales goalie on the near side for an impressively early lead. That would prove to be the only offense as the Ducks’ claimed a 1-0 championship game win and their second MAC Freedom title since joining the conference.

Cozza played a pivotal role in getting Stevens to the final — she assisted teammate Molly DiCampli in overtime against fourth-seeded Arcadia in the semifinals to allow them to move on. The Ducks faced a rematch with DeSales, the reigning conference champions — but a team they’d beaten, 3-0, in the regular season finale to earn the top seed. 

The rematch was closer but saw Lily Wierzbicki turn away seven shots in the shutout and earn Tournament Most Valuable Player honors as a result. It was the third straight shutout for the Ducks and Wierzbicki, who logged one save in 60 scoreless minutes of the semifinal. 

Stevens, boasting a 17-2 record and on a remarkable 14-game winning streak, enters the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history.

Tyler Hewey

North Atlantic Conference: Husson

After winning back-to-back New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) titles, a move to the NAC didn’t phase Husson. The Eagles — the top seed in the bracket — ran their title-winning streak to three with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over No. 2 Thomas College.

Thomas took a 1-0 first-quarter lead in the title game before Averi Baker equalized in the second quarter for Husson. The tie held until the final five minutes of the third quarter when Maddie Arsenault fired in the game-winner. Thomas had three penalty corners and four shots in the final quarter, but the Eagles’ fought them off to secure the crown.

Husson rolled in the semifinals, beating the  University of Maine at Farmington by a decisive 11-0 margin. They were well-represented on the All-Tournament team with Kimmie Goddard, Maddie Perkins, Baker, and Ella Louder. Perkins had a goal and two assists in the semifinal while Louder scored against Farmington and impressed on defense in the final.  

The Eagles finished the year at 9-5 and on a six-game winning streak. Husson won all eight of their conference games.

Will C Images

NESCAC: Middlebury

Middlebury made NESCAC history on Sunday when the Panthers became the only program to win six consecutive NESCAC championships and ten titles overall. 

It was an absolutely dominant performance from No. 1 nationally ranked Middlebury, who blanked Williams 4-0 in the final. The Panthers outshot the Ephs 30-6 and only allowed a single shot on goal, which was saved by senior goalkeeper KK Newton. Caroline Segal tallied the game-winning goal for Middlebury just three minutes into the match, with three insurance goals coming from Katie George, Amy Griffin, and Lilly Branka. George and Griffin now stand at 20 and 21 goals on the season, respectively, both putting out outstanding offensive performances in the tournament.

To get to the final, No. 1 seed Middlebury took down No. 8 seed Trinity 6-1 in the quarterfinal, then followed it up with a 4-1 semifinal victory over No. 7 seed Amherst. The reigning Division III champion Panthers are a perfect 18-0 on the season.

NEWMAC: Babson

Extending their win streak to 14, Babson took down MIT to claim their third consecutive NEWMAC title. 

It was a perfect addition to a near perfect season for the Beavers, who currently rank second in the nation with a 20-1 overall record. No. 1 seed Babson outpaced No. 5 seed Springfield with a 9-0 win in the semifinal, then met NEWMAC rival No. 2 seed MIT in the championship match. Off goals from graduate students Brianne McGrath, Sinead Walsh, and Jackie Hill, the Beavers defeated the Engineers 3-1.

It was a familiar feeling for Babson, who has defeated MIT in all five of their NEWMAC championship wins – with three in the past three years.

Chris Taylor

New Jersey Athletic Conference: Rowan

Rowan put on a dominant performance on Saturday to win their third straight New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title.

After defeating No. 4 seed Stockton by a hefty 6-0 margin in the semifinal, No. 1 seed Rowan found themselves matched up against the only conference opponent who had defeated them this season – the TCNJ Lions. Completely different from the 3-2 loss earlier this season, the Profs kicked up the gear and dominated the Lions in a 3-0 shutout to claim the NJAC title. 

Senior Madison DuBois got the scoring started in the 17th minute, while sophomore Sidney Pavlis doubled the Profs’ lead in the fourth quarter. Rowan’s Cienna Bosher notched one final goal off a penalty corner to make it a 3-0 victory. A stout combination of defense and offense, the Profs led the Lions in shots (19-5), shots on goal (13-1), and penalty corners (12-5).

This was Rowan’s third consecutive conference title and 10th all time. The Profs, who currently stand at No. 17 in the national rankings with a record of 11-7, will make their fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA postseason.

Ralph Schudel

North Coast Athletic Conference: Denison

When Ohio Wesleyan and Denison squared off in the regular season, it took shootouts for the top-seeded Battling Bishops to keep their perfect record intact. The rematch — in the NCAC Championship game — went the other way. The No. 2 Big Red ended Ohio Wesleyan’s unbeaten season and claimed a conference-leading fifth NCAC title with a 1-0 overtime victory.

After 60 scoreless minutes in which the Bishops held a 14-4 edge in shots, the script flipped in overtime. In the seventh minute of the first overtime period, Denison’s Emma Gebhart — a freshman — scored the biggest goal of her young career with a shot from the top of the circle. Gebhart’s goal secured the Big Red’s first NCAC title since 2019.

Denison beat DePauw, 2-0, in the semifinals. Katherine Flanagan had a goal and assist in the win, the latter to set up Lila Smith. Goaltender Athena Joannou extended her scoreless streak to 411 minutes throughout the tournament. Flanagan earned the conference’s tournament Most Valuable Player award, while Gebhart, Rachel Gilio, Tabitha Chandler, and Cary Mauck joined her on the All-Tournament Team.

Denison heads into the NCAA Tournament having won three straight to bring their record to 13-5.

Old Dominion Athletic Conference: Lynchburg

In what will be Enza Steele’s 45th and final season at the helm of Lynchburg, the Hornets made sure she’d go out atop a conference she has so frequently seen her teams win. No. 11 Lynchburg claimed their 22nd ODAC title under Steele, beating No. 16 Shenandoah, 2-1, in what was a ranked battle.

The Hornets, who earned the ODAC automatic qualifier with the victory, beat Bridgewater by a 4-0 margin in the semifinals. Their 34th appearance in the ODAC title game ended the way last year’s did — with a Lynchburg win. Ryleigh Cameron opened the scoring in the first quarter before Riley Winefordner added another in the third quarter. Those two held up against a late Shenandoah goal.

Cameron earned All-Tournament Team honors alongside Kayla Brady, Allie Freeman, and Renee Van Thiel. Freeman and Van Thiel impressed in the midfield, while Brady turned away six shots in two games.

Lynchburg has won seven straight games and sits at 19-2 on the year. The Hornets are returning to the NCAA Tournament after a year’s absence and are looking to replicate their run to the semifinals back in 2019.

Southern Athletic Association: Rhodes

A third and final meeting to decide the season series between Rhodes and Centre — the only two programs’ to win an SAA crown — was fittingly in the SAA Championship Game. Rhodes scored the games’ first three goals in the first half and went on to win, 3-1, and claim a fifth SAA title.

The Lynx beat Marian in the semifinals, 2-1, to set up a third meeting with Centre. The Colonels had won the first matchup in September, 1-0, before Rhodes responded with a 3-2 overtime win in October. The final meeting saw the Lynx score in the 15th, 16th, and 21st minutes — with two of those off the stick of Sophie Croci while the other was from Grace Utz.

Teammate RC Krugler earned the SAA Tournament Most Valuable Player award and was named on the All-Tournament team alongside Croci and Utz.

Rhodes finished their year on a three-game winning streak and at 14-4 overall. The Lynx now sit just one title away from matching Centre in the SAA record books.

SUNYAC: Cortland

A winning streak hit nine for Cortland as the Red Dragons defended their SUNYAC crown, claiming the championship for a second year in a row with a 2-1 victory over New Paltz on their home turf.

A 2-0 lead through three quarters held up for Cortland, who picked up their 17th SUNYAC title while maintaining their impressive form. The Red Dragons beat Brockport, 4-0, in the semifinals to advance to the title game. Gianna Trunfio — who scored the deciding goal in the title game and added two in the prior round — earned the Tournament Most Valuable Player award. Trunfio’s third-quarter goal extended the lead to 2-0 and proved to be necessary insurance in the one-goal win.

She was joined on the All-Tournament team by Madison Rice, Hanna Corrigan, and Keirra Ettere

The Red Dragons sit at a sterling 17-1 on the year, boasting winning streaks of eight and nine games on the season ahead of the NCAA Tournament.

United East: Keystone

The first-ever United East Tournament ended with Keystone being crowned as champions for the second time in program history after beating Cedar Crest, 3-0.

The top-seeded Giants rolled through the conference, winning their semifinal against No. 4 Lancaster Bible by a 10-0 scoreline before blanking the second-seeded Falcons. It took just under four minutes for Keystone to take an early lead in the championship behind Tournament Most Valuable Player Maria Tomada. Belen Rodriguez and Vicky Mainero added goals in the comfortable victory. 

Tomada scored four goals in the semifinal victory while Mainero tacked on two as well. Keystone, who earned the conference’s auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament, sits at 11-5 on the season.

Images courtesy of Bill Wood/St. Mary’s Athletics, Centennial Conference, Erin Farina/CNU Athletics, Endicott Athletics, Hartwick Athletics, Mike Orazzi/JWU Athletics, Susquehanna Athletics, Rich Barnes/William Smith Athletics, Deja Driscoll Smith/USM Athletics, MASCAC, Messiah Athletics, Stevens Athletics, Tyler Hewey/Husson Athletics, Will C Images/Middlebury Athletics, Babson Athletics, Rowan Athletics, Ralph Schudel/Denison Athletics, Lynchburg Athletics, SAA, Cortland Athletics, Keystone Athletics