The Bellarmine University field hockey team won’t look to trump last weekend’s eye-popping final scores from a production standpoint. The Knights will, however, look to further the bottom line, which is continued success and solidifying their place at the top of the Eastern College Athletic Conference.

At 6:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Bellarmine (5-3, 2-0 ECAC) will welcome Limestone (4-4, 1-1) to Owsley B. Frazier Stadium in a clash of teams that squared off in the last two ECAC Tournament finals. The Knights will then host Belmont Abbey (1-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday. In their inaugural season, the Crusaders are an affiliate member of the ECAC, but their results against league opponents do not factor into the conference standings.

Bellarmine is currently tied with Lindenwood (also 2-0 ECAC) atop the league. The Knights made a pair of emphatic statements to open conference play, routing Newberry 7-1 and Mercy 8-0.

Limestone will present the stiffest challenge yet. The Saints and Knights are engaged in a budding rivalry, with Limestone edging Bellarmine for the last two ECAC Tournament championships. Last season’s loss in the title game was particularly heartbreaking for the Knights, who led 2-0 with less than six minutes remaining before ultimately falling 3-2 in overtime.

Limestone dropped its ECAC opener 2-0 to Mercy despite a 20-9 advantage in shots and a 27-6 superiority in penalty corners. The Saints rebounded to defeat Newberry 3-0 in league play. Limestone is coming off a 2-0 loss Monday to third-ranked Shippensburg. Kate Remley leads the Saints with four goals, while Kate Norman and Cassidy Coates have three apiece.

Belmont Abbey began the season 0-4 but defeated Sweet Briar 15-1 on Saturday for the first win in program history. The Crusaders will meet Lindenwood-Belleville today and Lindenwood on Friday prior to the match with the Knights.

Senior forward Kathryn Schneidtmiller and senior midfielder Aimee Ilgenfritz lead Bellarmine with five goals each, while senior forward/midfielder Anna O’Toole has chipped in four along with sophomore midfielder Katie Jo Hollkamp, who is the reigning ECAC Offensive Player of the Week. Senior forward Kelsey O’Bryan has distributed five assists.

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by Adam Pruiett

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