The Salisbury University field hockey team will be playing for a spot in the NCAA Division III National Championship on Saturday.
Salisbury secured their spot in the Final Four after Sunday's 2-0 victory over the University of Lynchburg. The Sea Gulls are 20-1 on the season with their last loss coming exactly two months ago to The College of New Jersey.
Salisbury holds a 54-30 all-time record in the NCAA tournament.
The Gulls will face off against Middlebury College in the NCAA semifinal. Middlebury stands at 19-1 on the season, their lone loss coming against Tufts on Oct. 26.
The Panthers boast an impressive track record in the tournament. They have won the last two NCAA titles and have a 43-16 overall record in their 20 tournament appearances.
The Sea Gulls and Panthers have only met in the NCAA tournament, with Salisbury holding a 2-1 series record. The Sea Gulls wins came in the 2003 and 2004 title games, while Middlebury won the most recent match-up, a 2-1 overtime victory in the 2007 NCAA semifinal.
Salisbury will look to interrupt the Panthers 10-game winning streak in NCAA play.
But head coach Dawn Chamberlin said she knows the ability her team has regardless of the opponent.
"It's not about reinventing the wheel at this point," Chamberlin said. "It's about just being consistent with what we've been successful in doing."
This year's senior class, comprised of seven starters, were freshmen when the team last made it to the Final Four.
But for the rest of the team, this is a new experience and they want to deliver for this group of seniors that paved the way.
Junior goalie Dom Farrace said reaching this new height has been a great feeling after losing to Tufts in the Elite Eight last season.
"Last year, in the Elite Eight, it was very hard for me to lose that game because of the game I played and the game the girls played, but it just wasn't our time," Farrace said. "We've been saying this season to be one percent better, and I think we've really done that."
The contest, taking place at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, Pennsylvania, is set to begin at 2 p.m.
By NICK LEWIS
Featured photo: Emma Reider image.