After earning the most regular season wins since 2007, the Mansfield University field hockey team enters the first round of the PSAC playoffs when it travels to Kutztown University on Tuesday.
The fifth-seeded Mounties (12-6, 6-4 PSAC) secured their first playoff appearance since 2010 by defeating Bloomsburg, 4-3, in the second to last game of the season. A win over Kutztown in the PSAC quarterfinal would be the first postseason victory in program history.
Game time is set for 6 p.m. Live stats and video coverage will be provided by Kutztown and can be found under the schedule at gomounties.com.
Mansfield is led into the tournament by the senior class of Brittany Ryan, Larissa Motts, Dana Evans, Madison Wilinsky, Meghan Griffin and Christie Buyer, who have led the program on a complete reboot under fifth-year head coach Brittany Hansrote. After winning two games as freshman, the group led the Mounties to back-to-back eight-win seasons before racking up 12 this year.
Evans is the leader of the offensive attack and enters Tuesday’s contest fourth in the PSAC in goals (19) and fifth in points (44). The senior forward is just three points and one goal away from setting single-season records in both categories.
Also entering the contest in double figures in points is Motts (21), Buyer (17), Griffin (16) and Alex Esterling (10). All five players have either scored or dished out an assist over the previous three games in which the Mounties are 2-1.
The defense is led by two of the best goal-stoppers in program history in Wilinsky and Ryan. A two-time All-PSAC goalkeeper and 1st Team NFHCA All-American during her career, Ryan has remained one of the top goalkeepers in the country. As a senior, Ryan set the program-record for career shutouts (13) and is tied for first for shutouts in a season (6).
Wilinsky has been one of the most consistent defenders in the conference over the duration of her career, while becoming the Mounties’ all-time career-leader for defensive saves (24) as a senior.
Tuesday's game also denotes a battle between two former Mountaineer field hockey standouts, head coach Brittany Hansrote '09 and Kutztown head coach Marci (née Lippert) Scheuing '05. Both coaches played for former Mansfield head field hockey coach Diane Monkiewicz. Hansrote served as an assistant coach under Scheuing at Bryn Mawr and Kutztown before taking the head job at Mansfield.
The third-ranked team in the country, Kutztown (12-5, 7-3 PSAC), upended the Mounties, 3-1, when the two squads met earlier this season. Evans gave the Mounties an early lead after a penalty-stroke goal, but Kutztown responded with three unanswered goals to earn the victory.
Kyra Wozniak leads the Golden Bears’ attack with 23 points (10 goals, three assists), while Mackenzie Fuhrman is tied for third in the conference with eight assists.
Kutztown goalkeeper Kerri Hanshaw finished with a 5-2 record after officially taking over the starting role late in the season. The senior keeper has 32 saves, four shutouts and is third in the conference in saves percentage (.821).
The winner will travel to No. 1 West Chester on Friday.