Dec. 2, 2010
Courtesy of Dan Pickle
LOUISVILLE, Ky. − Behind two goals and two assists from senior forward Katie Enaire, Massachusetts-Lowell defeated Stonehill, 5-1, Thursday in the semifinals of the Division II Field Hockey Championships.
After an evenly played opening 10 minutes, Massachusetts-Lowell got on the board at the 10:23 mark when Rachel McCarthy fed a pass from outside the circle to Enaire, who found the back of the cage to take the lead. Ten minutes later, the River Hawks struck again when Enaire came up with an assist off a penalty corner to Sarah Wilcox, who scored just her second goal of the season. Massachusetts-Lowell closed out the first-half scoring when Enaire registered her 30th goal on the season with just more than three minutes left to play in the half.
I thought we came out and possessed the ball really well in the first half and were able to finish the opportunities that we created for ourselves,” River Hawks head coach Shannon Hlebichuk said. We are used to playing on FieldTurf instead of AstroTurf, so it definitely took us a little while to get used to the speed, but once we did I thought we did a good job of possessing the ball.”
In the second half, the score stayed the same until the 46:08 mark when Liz Day scored unassisted on a shot from the top right corner of the circle that found its way past Stonehill goalie Courtney Osier and into the left side of the cage. The River Hawks last goal of the game came five minutes later when Kayla Littig tipped in a penalty corner shot from Enaire.
Stonehill finally got on the scoreboard at the 63:13 mark on a perfectly executed penalty corner when Lindsey Pinkham sent it into Lauren Gifford, who passed it back to Pinkham, who was able to put it into the back of the cage.
I thought we played a great second half,” said Stonehill head coach Shelly Morris. We fought really hard, and we really started to pressure. We didnt pressure them at the beginning of the game and that really hurt us. We didnt carry the ball with speed or conviction and do all the things we talked about needing to do.”
With the win, the River Hawks improved to 23-0 on the season and will play for their second national title Saturday against the winner of the Shippensburg-Bloomsburg contest, which was played later Thursday afternoon. For the Massachusetts-Lowell seniors, it is the fourth trip to the NCAA finals in four years. However, the previous three all ended in losses in the championship game to Bloomsburg.
The closeness of this team is definitely more so than in the other three years,” River Hawk senior forward Sammy Macy said. Everyone is there for each other both on and off the field, and I think that makes a difference. We are going out there and try and do whatever it takes to win.”
Hlebichuk said the team was on track to meet its goals.
We set a goal at the beginning of the season, not to be undefeated but to get back to the national championship game, and they have reached it,” she said. We are going to set a new goal tonight and thats to win the national championship. Theyve been knocking on the door for the past three years, and second place isnt good enough this year. We talked about that even back in the preseason, and now we want to finish it.”