PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The 2011 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship heads to Syracuse, N.Y. this weekend for the semifinals and title game of the conference tournament. On Nov. 4, No. 4 seed Louisville will face No. 1 seed Connecticut at 12:30 p.m., while No. 2 seed Syracuse and No. 3 seed Villanova will meet at 3 p.m. The winners will meet on Nov. 6 for the title. All games will be played at J. S. Coyne Stadium on the campus of Syracuse University.
Connecticut (16-1, 6-0 BIG EAST) secured the No. 1 seed at the championship for the first time since 2007. Riding a 10-game winning streak, the Huskies enter the tournament as the 2011 regular-season BIG EAST Champion and have been ranked at No. 4 in the NFHCA Coaches' Poll for the entire season. Connecticut will face Louisville in a semifinal matchup on Friday. The Huskies beat the Cardinals 4-2 in the regular season. Senior defender Jestine Angelini and sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield anchor a defense that leads the league in goals against average (0.87) and shutouts per game (0.41).
Syracuse (16-3, 5-1 BIG EAST) is the No. 2 seed and is looking to win back-to-back championship crowns. The Orange locked up the second seed by beating Villanova 3-2 in their conference regular-season finale. Senior Heather Susek and junior Kelsey Millman pace the Orange, as well as the league, in most offensive categories. Millman has earned 47 points on the season, while both have scored 17 goals for a 0.89 goals per game tally. Susek leads the league with 3.95 shots per game. The Orange have won two out of the last three BIG EAST Championship titles.
Villanova (8-10, 3-3 BIG EAST) returns to the BIG EAST Championship for the first time since 2005, when it competed as the No. 1 seed. The Wildcats defeated Louisville in the regular season to capture the No. 3 seed in the tournament. VU is led by freshman Jessica Swoboda, who has scored 21 points on seven goals and seven assists. In goal, senior Megan Goelz leads the conference with 6.39 saves per game and has recorded a 2.46 goals against average through 18 games.
Louisville (10-8, 3-3 BIG EAST) is making its seventh consecutive appearance in the BIG EAST Championship. The Cardinals secured the No. 4 seed with a decisive 6-0 victory over Providence late in the season. They are led by senior Hayley Turner, who has contributed 28 points on 10 goals and eight assists. In conference play, she scored 0.89 goals per game, including two goals in the team's win over Providence. Junior Erin Conrad paces the Cardinals in goal with a 1.42 goals against average and six shutouts on the season. The Cardinals are looking for their first BIG EAST Championship victory.
All games will be streamed live through the BIG EAST Digital Network and BIGEAST.tv with Joel Godett announcing the games.