SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. – Brynn Adams had a feeling. She just knew that Saturday was not her last college field hockey contest. And three minutes into West Chester’s NCAA Division II first-round contest, that feeling was confirmed.
Fourth-ranked West Chester (15-4) avenged one of its regular-season losses with a 3-0 blanking of No. 2 Shippensburg (17-4) in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championship at Robb Sports Complex Saturday afternoon.
“We have a great group of seniors on this team,” senior tri-captain Adams stated after her team secured the upset on the road. “But, I think you could see it in the underclassmen on this team. I think you could see it in them more. They didn’t want our season to end today. And when we scored that first goal, I knew the game was ours.”
Carley Buckwalter opened the scoring early in the third minute when she blasted a shot from the right side of the circle past Shippensburg goalkeeper Ciarra Delost off a penalty corner. West Chester forced three consecutive penalty corners and the third time was the charm. Adams, who finished with a goal and an assist, picked up the helper on that goal 2:35 in.
Kristina Taylor missed a golden opportunity to tie the game in the 26th minute when a mishit on a clear attempt inside the Rams’ circle left Taylor all alone with the ball at the penalty dot. However, her shot went just wide of the cage as West Chester’s goalkeeper, Kristin Arnold (nine saves), rushed out to cut down the angle.
Michele Schrift doubled the lead when she slapped a loose ball past Delost from out in front in the 30th minute for her sixth goal of the season.
West Chester successfully staved off three corner opportunities at the end of the half after time had expired. That provided the spark the Golden Rams needed heading into the locker rooms at the break. For the game, host Shippensburg held a decided 20-9 advantage in corners and outshot West Chester 18-10. However, Arnold was up to the task in her first NCAA game.
“The girls in front of me were great today,” Arnold commented. “I can’t believe we gave up 20 corners because I don’t think they got too many shots off them.”
Brie White missed a penalty stroke wide left eight minutes into the second half that could have put the Raiders on the board and cut the deficit in half. It was perhaps the Raiders’ best scoring opportunity of the afternoon, along with the turnover in the circle that Taylor struck wide.
Adams picked up her ninth of the season in the 50th minute while the Rams were down a player. She dribbled to the right off a penalty corner opportunity and tucked her shot in on the nearside post past a sprawled out Carenna Neely.
“All three of our goals today were team goals,” first-year head coach Amy Cohen said. “The girls played a great game today. It was a team effort to get this win.
“We had a game plan. We did our homework and it paid off in the end. It was nice to see these girls’ hard work rewarded here [Saturday].”
Arnold added, “I think we all felt that we could reach the final four after we moved to Division II. This is what we have been working for all season.”
Leah Angstadt missed an penalty stroke opportunity with 13 minutes remaining. Neely stuck her stick up and deflected Angstadt’s shot that was ear-marked for the top left corner. The ball hit Neely’s stick and then hit the crossbar. It was Angstadt’s first missed stroke in four attempts this season.