Lady Monarch Field Hockey Returns to Action

September 20, 2001
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Sept. 20, 2001

NORFOLK, VA -- The defending national field hockey champions will resume action this weekend when they travel to Virginia Commonwealth, to open up Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play, and #12 Virginia.

The Lady Monarchs (4-2) have not taken the field since September 9th when Old Dominion handed Boston University a 4-1 loss on Foreman Field. Last weekend's contests, which included a rematch of last year's NCAA Tournament Championship Game with #1 North Carolina and # 8 Duke, were cancelled due the tragic events of last week.

Putting their four-game winning streak on the line, the Lady Monarchs will play the first of their three conference contests on the schedule this year against the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 22nd. VCU enters the contest having dropped their last five games, including a 1-2 loss to American on Wednesday night. Sophomore Nicole Sullivan leads all Ram scoring leaders with seven points (3 goals, 1 assist), while senior Lauren Sparrow checks in as the team's second leading scorer with six points (2 goals, 2 assists) on the season. Sophomore Abby Stiles and Anne Forrester have spilt duties in the net, combining for 45 saves and a 5.17 goals against average.

Two familiar faces will be along the sidelines with Virginia Commonwealth as Rams' head coach Dawn Hill ('86) and assistant Staci Smith ('99) were both former standouts on the Lady Monarch team. Hill, who also served as an assistant with Beth Anders on both the 1988 and 1990 NCAA Championship teams, is a member of the Old Dominion Hall of Fame. She was named a CFHCA All-American and selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team following the 1985 season and helped guide the Lady Monarch to an 82-9 record during her career, including three NCAA Championship Titles. Smith, a NCAA All-Tournament honoree and All-CAA player, helped Old Dominion to 61-10 mark during her career, which included the NCAA Title in 1998.

Old Dominion holds a 29-3-1 all-time record against the Rams, having won the last 29 consecutive outings dating back to 1977. Last season, the Lady Monarchs defeated VCU twice, including a 13-0 shutout during the regular season, marking the most goals by Old Dominion during the season. The squad also defeated VCU, 8-0, in the CAA Tournament.

The following day, the Lady Monarchs will take on the twelfth ranked Virginia Cavaliers at 1:00 p.m. Virginia enters the contest having won four consecutive games, including a 2-0 shutout of Richmond on Wednesday night. The lone setback this season for the Cavaliers occurred in their season opener with a 0-2 loss at Michigan. Senior Jess Coleman continues to led Virginia, racking up 14 points on seven goals thus far in 2001. In goal, sophomore Emily White has posted a 1.2 goals against average with 17 saves in net.

The Lady Monarchs hold a 25-9 series advantage over the Cavaliers. Last year, Old Dominion defeated Virginia, then ranked number eight in the country, 5-1 on Foreman Field. The Lady Monarchs have won the last seven meetings dating back to the 1997 season.

This weekend's two games will mark the first of an eight-game road trip for the Lady Monarchs. Old Dominion will face Temple and Princeton the following weekend and enter contests with Connecticut and New Hampshire the first weekend of October, before returning home to Foreman Field to host William and Mary on Friday, October 12th in CAA action.