- - - - - Press Release Courtesy of Christopher Newport University Athletic Communications - - - - -
GILBERT, Ariz. -- Stephanie McKinney has been named the Defensive Player of the Week by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association after leading the 10th-ranked Christopher Newport field hockey team to a 1-0 victory over Salisbury last Saturday at Captains Turf Field.
The national award continues a decorated week for McKinney, who was previously honored as the Capital Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Additionally, she was named to the Synapse Sports Weekly Honor Roll earlier today.
During her highlight-reel performance against Salisbury, McKinney matched her career-high with seven saves. After the Captains gave her an early lead, the Virginia Beach native made three stops in the first half before adding four more in the second stanza. Although her final save in the waning moments helped seal the victory, it was her performance against SU's penalty stroke that flipped the momentum early in the second half.
Trailing by one, Salisbury had an opportunity to tie the game after earning a stroke in the 43rd minute. In a one-on-one showdown, McKinney won the battle. She dove to her right and made a fully-extended save with her stick to punch the ball out of the air and push it around the pipe to keep the Sea Gulls off the board.
With that effort, she became the first CNU goalie to notch a save on a penalty stroke attempt since 2014.
Eventually, after 70 minutes of flawless work between the pipes, McKinney finished off her third solo shutout of the season. In doing so, she became the first CNU goalkeeper to blank an opponent ranked in the top-10 in the NFHCA Coaches Poll. The No. 3 Sea Gulls also became the highest-ranked team ever defeated by the Captains.
The game also marked the first time Salisbury was held scoreless in a conference tilt in over a decade. Prior to Saturday's battle, the Sea Gulls had scored at least once in 64 straight league games since former CAC member Catholic blanked the team, 1-0, on October 4, 2006.
Overall this season, McKinney leads the NCAA with a 0.47 goals-against-average and an .886 save percentage. She has held the opposition scoreless in seven of her 10 outings while helping lead the Captains to seven total shutouts, which stands as the most in the NCAA.