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Rowan Field Hockey Continues Quest for National Championship Titlee

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HARTFORD, CT – The Rowan field hockey team will continue its quest for a national championship when the Profs take on top-ranked and defending champion Middlebury on Saturday, November 20 in the NCAA Division III Semifinals. Game time is 11 a.m. at Trinity College's Robin L. Sheppard Field. Tenth-ranked Trinity (15-5) will face #2 Johns Hopkins (21-0) in the second semifinal with the winners meeting for the NCAA Championship on Sunday at 1 p.m.
 
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Courier-Post: 
"Rowan Planning Extended Stay at Final Four" 

#4 ROWAN (18-2) vs. #1 MIDDLEBURY (20-0)
About the Profs
Rowan enters its second national semifinal in the last three seasons riding a 16-game winning streak, that has stretched for two months. The Profs are at their highest ranking of the season (#4) and looking for their second all-time berth in the championship game, and the first since 2002, when they captured the only NCAA title in the program's history.
 
Getting Here
Rowan, which earned a first-round bye, hosted the NCAA Second and Third Rounds last weekend. The Profs defeated Ohio Wesleyan, 2-1, and shut out previously undefeated and #9-ranked Washington and Lee, 3-0. Against Washington and Lee, Julia Patrone and Bridget Guinan each had a goal and an assist, as the Profs extended their winning streak to 16. Patrone got the Profs off to a flying start with what proved to be the gamewinning goal just 6:16 into the contest as she scored from close range off a rebound. Krystyna Hovell added an insurance goal in the first minute of the second half when Guinan sent a pass to Patrone, and she found Hovell in front of the cage. Rowan, which held a decisive 22-1 advantage in shots, added one more goal late when Guinan scored on a shot from eight yards out at 51:41. Goalkeeper Abby Hainsworth needed to only make one save on the day to notch the Profs' ninth shutout of the season.
 
Rowan and the NCAA's
This is Rowan's 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament and it owns a 20-19 all-time record. The Profs have been in the national semifinals four times previously, in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2018, and won the NCAA Championship in 2002 under coach Penny Kempf
 
Rowan and the NJAC   
Rowan went undefeated in conference play (6-0) for the second time under Michelle Andre to earn the top seed in the NJAC Tournament, and the right to host. The Profs defeated Ramapo, 3-1, in the semifinals and then captured their eighth NJAC title with a 1-0 overtime win over #5 Kean.
 
Doing it All
Kristiina Castagnola, the NJAC Midfielder of the Year, is the catalyst for the Profs. She has set new career-highs with 17 goals and 42 points this season and has three game-winning goals to her credit. Two of them came in overtime, with the first during the 1-0 win at #11 TCNJ in the regular season. More recently, she had the championship-winning goal in overtime against #5 Kean. Castagnola was an All-American Second Team selection in 2019 and a three-time All-NJAC First Team honoree.
 
For the Defense
Sophomore goalkeeper Abby Hainsworth and the Prof defense have allowed just 19 goals in 20 games this season. Rowan has recorded nine shutouts, and had a six-game shutout streak (from Oct. 1-29) that tied the school record (from 2001) for consecutive shutouts. Her GAA is 0.80, which ranks 10th in the NCAA, and she's made 29 saves with a save percentage of 0.69.
 
Courageous Comeback
Senior Molly Gorczyca has been one of the anchors of the Profs' stellar defense and she is a profile in courage. The senior was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2019 and missed that season. After undergoing treatment and a bone marrow transplant (with her brother Tyler as the donor), Gorcyzca has made a remarkable return to the field and solidified the defense, while being named the NJAC Defender of the Year and earning All-NJAC First Team honors.
 
The Scorers
The race for the team scoring lead has changed hands all year but it's been a three-player race between freshman Julia PatroneKrystyna Hovell and Kristiina Castagnola. Patrone burst onto the season in her first year with the Profs and set the tone in the season opener, scoring the first of her three hat tricks against Ursinus, while adding an assist for a seven-point game. Patrone, who has team-highs of 19 goals and seven gamewinners, has five multiple-goal games, including hat tricks against Alvernia and Elizabethtown. Hovell has netted 17 goals, one shy of her career-high, along with eight assists for 42 points. The senior has five multiple-goal games and one hat trick against Ramapo. Castagnola has tallied a career-high 17 goals with three gamewinners and has scored two goals in five different games this year.
 
Super Seniors
Kristiina Castagnola and Molly Gorczyca have been named to the 2021 NFHCA Division III Senior Team. The Profs join a group of student-athletes who were nominated by their NFHCA member coach and chosen based on their career accomplishments, with all six NCAA Division III regions being represented on the team.
 
Fab Frosh
A number of first-year players have also made an impact for the Profs, led by top scorer Julia Patrone (19 g, 5 a). In addition, Julia Cavicchio has totaled five goals and five assists, while earning NJAC Rookie of the Week honors three times. Vanessa DiDonato has has five goals and one assist and received the top rookie award from the league as she collected a hat trick in the win over Ramapo.
 
Guided by Guinan
Senior Bridget Guinan has been a solid contributor on both offense and defense this season. She was honored as the NJAC Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 15 as she keyed the defense that allowed just one goal in two NCAA Tournament wins, while posting a goal and an assist. She scored Rowan's third goal and assisted on the second in the 3-0 victory over #9 Washington and Lee that sent Rowan to its fifth Final Four in program history.
 
Rowan in the Final Four
This is the Profs' fifth appearance in the Final Four and they are seeking just their second berth in the national championship game. The 2002 squad took home the national title with a win over Salisbury (3-2 in 2 ot) and then a victory over Messiah (1-0). That team went undefeated with a school-record 21 wins. Rowan also reached this point in 1998, 2000, and 2018.

Rowan's Tradition of Excellence
Rowan University has won 11 NCAA team championships over the years, with the field hockey program's title in 2002 being the last one. The most recent team to compete for a national title was the Profs' baseball team, which reached the College World Series in 2021.
        Rowan's NCAA Team Titles
        Field Hockey        2002
        Baseball            1978, 1979
        Men's Basketball        1996
        Men's Soccer        1981, 1990
        Men's Outdoor Track    1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984

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