Nov. 13, 2009

 

By Dan Hickling
Special to NCAA.com

EASTON, Mass. – The result was as heartening for Bloomsburg University as it was heart rending for Shippensburg.

Bloomsburg, the three-time NCAA Division II field hockey defending champions, earned the right to make it four in a row, with a rousing 4-2 triumph over the Raiders, in a National Semifinal clash staged at W.B. Mason Stadium on the campus of Stonehill College.

The Huskies, who have won a record 12 National titles under head coach Jan Hutchinson, will try for No. 13 in what will be Hutchinson's final game after 32 seasons at the school's field hockey helm.

“We're excited,” said senior forward Maggey Bloskey, who banged in Bloomsburg's go-ahead goal early in the second half. “We're not going to take (anyone) lightly. We're going to come out and play hard, just like we did today.”

Bloomsburg fired in three second half goals, beginning with Bloskey's at 39:18, to break open what had been a 1-1 halftime deadlock.

“We would always like to score first,” said senior Erin Hench. “But when they do, that just means that we have to step up and try a little harder. Just keep the pressure going and get another goal. Which we did. From there, we kept going.”

Shippensburg, which was seeking to avenge last year's Semifinal loss to the Huskies, struck first, at 7:36, when freshman Ashley Taylor cashed in a penalty corner feed from Laura Wylde.

Taylor was parked just inside the circle, and when Wylde's pass came out, she flipped her stick and backhanded it past Bloomsburg netminder Caitlin Koczynski for her sixth goal of the year.

“We were excited,” said senior co-captain Jamie Doughty. “We were pumped and ready. We knew we needed to come out strong, which we did. (Then) we had a little lull, when we let them back into the game.”

Bloomsburg's response came three minutes later, when Hench tied the score, 1-1,with a tip in of Aubrey Carmen's lead feed, which snuck past Shippensburg goalie Amanda Houser.

“I just remember (that) Aubrey was putting it in (to the circle),” said Hench. “It might have been going in, but I just wanted to make sure it was in. So I just whaled it, and it went in. It was just great to get the first goal on the board and get us going.”

It was Hench's 10th goal of the season.

“I thought it was important for us to come back and get the equalizer,” said Hutchinson. “(To) not get down by two.”

Bloskey netted her 14th of the year just after halftime, when she barged into the crease to put away a loose ball.

“It was just a scramble at the goal,” said Bloskey, “and I was able to get it in.”

Nine minutes later, Bloskey assisted on Amanda Riley's 25th of the year, a chip shot that put Bloomsburgh ahead, 3-1.

Even with a two goal lead, the Huskies weren't willing to chalk up the win.

Not yet, anyway.

“We were actually talking about it on the sideline,” said Hench. “We said that maybe we needed another one or two to make us feel comfortable.”

Indeed the Raiders refused to fold, and drew to within 3-2 with 8:13 to play, when Katie Pufnock popped in Kristina Taylor's cross feed from the right side.

Shippensburg continued to press and nearly tied the game with six minutes left, when Doughty had a chance for a tip in at the right post.

However, she was unable to get her stick on the ball as it bounded past her.

The Huskies finally put the game away when Aime Sgarlat capped the scoring with 4:01 to play.

“I thought 'Ship' played very well,” said Hutchinson, “so we're pleased to be advancing.”

EMPTY NETTERS: Shippensburg finished the season at 20-3, having tied the school record for victories, while suffering each of its losses at the hands of the Huskies... Doughty, whose skill and experience helped steady coach Bertie Landes' youthful squad, reflected on her time at 'the Ship'. “It's been an awesome experience,” she said. “Especially with the seniors. We just had a vision to making it to Nationals. To do it back to back years, is such an opportunity and an honor. We have developed such an friendship on our team. That winning a National Championship would be awesome. But the relationships that we built are even more important than that.”