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Schwitter, Stockton to be Recognized Thursday

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – After dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker on the road to No. 4 Virginia Tech, the Miami Hurricanes will close out their regular season Thursday against Clemson on Senior Night at Cobb Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Miami (8-8-1) will look to keep its postseason hopes alive with a win against the Tigers (7-7-4). If the Hurricanes successfully qualify for the 2013 NCAA Championship, the team will have made the postseason three straight years for the first time in program history.

“Thursday’s match is the most important game of our season,” first-year head coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “We watched some film today, and we had so many great opportunities to finish against Tech. We have to make sure that going into the game against Clemson, if we get the same opportunities, we capitalize.”

The night promises to be an emotional one for Coach Monroe and her staff, who will recognize two deserving seniors in pregame ceremonies: Blake Stockton and Tara Schwitter. The two players have totaled 15 goals and 15 assists over a combined stretch of 121 starts across the past four seasons.

“It’s going to be an emotional game for both Tara and Blake because they’ve been through so much,” Monroe said. “They’re going to go out on a positive note. They have had such a great experience this year – I feel like I have known them for such a long time even though it’s only been a few months.”

With two goals and three assists, Schwitter ranks third on the team in points (seven) heading into Thursday’s match. The Oradell, N.J., native has played a crucial role for Monroe in the midfield, playing with relentless energy on both sides of the pitch.

“She’s the engine of our team,” Monroe said of her senior midfielder. “If she’s on, has energy and is focused, she ultimately brings the team up. I think she gives our whole team confidence going into the game.”

Much of the same can be said about Stockton, who has anchored Miami’s backline this season. Monroe said the decision to start two freshmen on the backline wasn’t an easy one, but with a veteran like Stockton captaining the defense, her mind was instantly put at ease.

“Blake has been huge for us,” Monroe said. “Her passion for soccer, her competitive mentality and her intensity just brings out the best in the team. Blake leaves everything on the field. Even in training today, it was obvious she wants to win it for her teammates and win it for herself.”

If Miami emerges victorious Thursday night, chances are both Schwitter and Stockton will have played crucial roles – just as they have for the majority of their time as Hurricanes.

“I joke with them, I wish I had them both for another year,” Monroe said. “They both want to go out with a bang, and I know we’ll be ready to play against Clemson.”