York College field hockey reaches NCAA Tournament for first time

The Spartans will host DeSale in their first-ever tournament game on Wednesday.

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

York College field hockey is in the NCAA Division III tournament field for the first time in program history.

The Spartans, with a record of 15-5 and a second-place finish in the MAC Commonwealth regular season and tournament, earned one of eight at-large bids to NCAAs on Sunday. York College will host DeSales University at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Members of the York College field hockey team celebrate during a game this season. The Spartans earned a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time in school history on Sunday night.

Head coach Katie Fost’s team advanced to the Commonwealth championship game for the first time over the weekend but fell 2-0 to Messiah, who also handed the Spartans their only conference loss of the regular season (3-2 in overtime). York College went 0-4 against teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament field, but each of those three teams — Messiah twice, Salisbury and Johns Hopkins — earned byes in the bracket as top-six seeds.

The Spartans, ranked 13th nationally by coaches, are essentially the No. 16 seed in the 26-team tournament. Should they win their first-round matchup against DeSales, they will visit top-seeded Salisbury on Saturday. The Sea Gulls beat the Spartans 1-0 on Oct. 5.

York College’s offense was highlighted by junior Katie Martino (17 goals, three assists), freshman Kat Knox (11 goals, one assist) and sophomore Riley Buschert (seven goals, eight assists). The defense, spearheaded by sophomore goalie Belle Fields and junior defender Sara Pique, has allowed 0.55 goals per contest and pitched 13 shutouts in 20 games.

The Spartan women’s soccer team, which also lost 2-0 to Messiah in the conference finals on Saturday, awaits its potential selection to the NCAA Tournament on Monday. York College sits at 12-4-4 overall and 6-0-2 in the conference. The team's season has been highlighted by a 1-0 win over Messiah on Oct. 12, which was the Falcons’ first conference loss since 2000.