Nov. 7, 2006
WASHINGTON - No. 19 American University women's field hockey team will face No.1 Wake Forest in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament, committee officials announced Tuesday night.
After holding a 14-6 overall record and defeating Holy Cross by a 5-3 margin in the 2006 Patriot League Championship game, American earned its fourth consecutive automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The win also marked the fourth straight year that AU has won the conference tournament and remained undefeated in PL play.
Wake Forest earned the No. 1 seed after defeating Maryland 1-0 in the ACC Championship game. The win improved the Demon Deacons to 19-1 overall and marked the first time since the 2003 season that Wake Forest has captured the tournament crown, after losing in the championship to the Terrapins in 2005.
American University and Wake Forest are even in the all-time series records, going 3-3 in their previous matches.
"The team is tremendously excited about the opportunity we have in front of us," said head coach Steve Jennings. "Wake Forest is a great program and we know we have to do our best to come out with the win. We are looking forward to the challenge."
Offensively, the Eagles are led by sophomore Irene Schickhardt (Ludwigsburg, Germany/Schiller), senior Camila Infante (Santiago, Chile/Santiago College), junior Denise Infante (Santiago, Chile/Santiago College) and senior Heidi Hershberger (Davis, Calif./Davis). Schickhardt leads the team in points with 32, coming on 11 goals and 10 assists. Senior Camila Infante, the 2006 Patriot League Tournament MVP, has recorded 12 goals and five assists, with three goals coming in the Championship Tourney. Denise Infante has been a constant force in the defensive zone and was honored as the 2006 PL Defensive Player of the Year. With her quick transition play she is third on the team in points with 29, tallying 10 goals and nine assists. Hershberger is tied for second in goals with Schickhardt recording 11 and leads both the Eagles and the Patriot League in game-winning goals with five.
AU's impact defense continues to contribute to the team's success and its four-year undefeated record in conference play. Infante, a defender who is third on the team in points, is just one example of the versatile players AU has in its back. The Eagle defense has allowed just 40 goals on 196 shots. Senior goalkeeper Allison Fayfich (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) has a .680 save percentage, allowing just 33 goals in the 2006 season.
In the other game of the bracket, Virginia and Iowa will go head to head. In the first-round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament, American defeated Iowa 2-1 at College Park, Md. AU and Virginia currently split the series, with each team winning one a piece.
For a complete 2006 NCAA Tournament Bracket Click Here.
American University and Wake Forest will face off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students with ID, youth and seniors. Keep up to date with AUEagles.com for box scores and recaps of the NCAA tournament.