|Gracie McClatchy||Allie Benadon||Claire McAllister|
The No. 1 seed University of Scranton field hockey team (12-7) will battle the No. 3 seed Susquehanna River Hawks (10-10) in the Landmark Conference Championship for the second consecutive year on Saturday afternoon. Start time at Weiss Field is slated for 1 p.m.
The winner of Saturday's game will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Last season, the River Hawks recorded a 2-0 victory in the Landmark Conference championship game in Selinsgrove and advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they fell to FDU-Florham in the opening round.
Scranton is in search of the program's first Landmark Conference title and their first NCAA berth since 1997. The Royals have made two previous appearances in the Landmark title game in 2013 and 2018.
Admission to the semifinal match is $7 for adults and $4 for seniors (62 and older) and non-Landmark Conference students. Children ages 10 and under are admitted free of charge, as are all Landmark Conference students, faculty and staff with their school ID.
The top-seeded Royals advanced to the championship game with a 3-0 victory over No. 4 seed Elizabethtown on Wedensday night. Senior Gracie McClatchy (Havertown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) led the way offensively with a goal and assist, while sophomore Allie Benadon (Hillsborough, N.Y./Hillsborough) and senior Brianna Witt (Sloatsburg, N.Y./Suffern) added goals for the Royals. Senior goalie Claire McAllister (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh) made five saves en route to her fourth shutout of the season.
McClatchy leads the team with 11 goals and five assists, while Benadon has registered 16 points on six goals and four assists. Witt and fellow senior Nicolette Keale (Wall Township, N.J./Wall) have tallied five goals apiece for head coach Colleen Moyer's squad. McClatchy's 11 goals rank third in the Landmark Conference.
McAllister started all 19 games in goal for the Royals this season and leads the conference with a 1.21 goals against average. The Plymouth Meeting, Pa., native also ranks third in save percentage (.763).
Susquehanna notched a 2-1 win at Catholic to advance to the championship game behind goals from Vivian Simone and Hunter Pitman. Pitman's goal with 10:49 to play gave the River Hawks the lead and a defensive save from Annalee Smith in the final five minutes preserved the win. Senior goalie Veronica Green tallied 11 saves in the win and Smith had two defensive saves on the evening.
Pitman leads the team and the Landmark Conference with 20 goals, while Sam Banks has added seven goals of her own. Heather Casey is tops on the team with eight assists, a total that ranks second in the conference.
Saturday's championship game marks the 43rd all-time meeting between the two teams and the Royals hold a 22-17-3 advantage in the series. The Royals and River Hawks have split the past four meetings.
Susquehanna captured the regular season meeting with a 3-0 victory on Oct. 26 in Selinsgrove.