The College of Staten Island women’s soccer team is making their fourth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament this weekend, and will open up play against No. 12 Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, looking to take a slice of history when they take the field.  The winner will move on to a Sunday match at 6pm in Round of 32 while the loser’s season is finalized. 

Matchup: CSI (12-6) vs. Christopher Newport (17-1)
Where: Captains Field, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Newport News, VA
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Players to Watch (CSI): Samantha LaValle and Lauren Smith recently wrapped up great weeks as the Dolphins capped their fourth-straight CUNYAC title a week ago to send them to the Tournament.  Smith recorded her first ever multi-goal game in the CUNYAC Championship, helping to guide CSI to a 6-2 win over John Jay College.  For the performance, Smith was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.  CSI leading goal scorer LaValle scored five goals in the Tournament, three against Lehman in the semifinals and another two in the Championship.  LaValle now has 21 goals in 15 games and is second in CSI single-season history with six game-winning goals.  Mirsade Pelinkovic is another player to watch as she has eight goals and seven assists this season.  Catherine Mulligan and Adrianna Parello will be in the middle defensively for CSI, so look for them to be crucial pieces to stopping the Captains’ attack tonight.
Players to Watch (CNU): Over half of CNU’s goals this season have come off of the feet of Riley Cook and Gabby Gillis.  Cook has 21 goals with six helpers on just 51 shots on goal with nine game-winning goals.  Gillis has 15 goals with eight assists.  The overall assists leader is Maxine Borris who has dished out 11 helpers.  Lulu Manley is the team leader in minutes logged with 1,420, followed closely by Keiley McCarthy who has logged 1,320.  Haley Eiser has been tremendous in goal all season, allowing just 9 goals in 17 games, making 45 total saves for an .833 save percentage.
News & Notes: Tonight marks the first-ever meeting between the Captains and Dolphins in women’s soccer.  CSI is 0-3 in the NCAA Postseason Tournament, but took a big step forward when they scored their first-ever goal in last year’s Tournament, a 4-1, loss to Johns Hopkins.  CNU is coming in on a 12-game winning streak, and are making their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance.  This marks the second-straight year that they have been selected to host an opening round regional.  After the CSI-CNU game, Scranton (15-1-3) is facing off against Arcadia (12-5-3) in the other pod matchup at 7:30pm.  The two winners will meet on Sunday at 6pm.