SALISBURY, Md. — A first-half goal by No. 2 Montclair State lifted the Red Hawks to a 1-0 victory in the second round of the DIII Tournament at Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The setback snapped CNU’s 15-game winning streak, which set a program record and helped the squad vault up the national polls throughout the regular season.
The victory moved MSU to 20-1 and earned the squad a berth in the national quarterfinals. Despite the loss, the Captains still finished the year with a 17-2 record, which stands as the finest mark in team history.
In a match-up between Christopher Newport’s high-powered offensive attack and Montclair State’s suffocating defense, the Red Hawks were able to prevail behind an early goal by Sierra Rauchbach. After Jamie Dowling stoned three consecutive shots by MSU, including back-to-back bullets, Rauchbach broke through. Following a penalty corner, the junior swooped into the zone and batted a shot just outside of Dowling’s reach to give the squad a 1-0 advantage at 16:16.
After lighting up the scoreboard first, Montclair State controlled the tempo. Dowling kicked aside another rocket before one more shot went wide. Looking for a response, CNU earned a corner and Caitlin Cahill unloaded a laser, but Montclair State’s Megan Bosland batted away the blast. Later, after another shot went wide, Dowling and Bosland clamped down on the final two attempts of the first half to keep Christopher Newport’s deficit at one.
In the beginning of the second half, the two teams traded spurts, but neither squad could break through. Bosland brushed aside a shot by Cahill, while Dowling swatted away a tracer off the stick of Brooke Hullings. After a contentious battle in the middle of the field, Montclair State made another push and got a clean look at the cage, but Marcy Hoath made a save to keep the game at 1-0.
The Captains could not make a counter run. Keeping the ball in the CNU zone, the Red Hawks tested Dowling twice during a two-minute span, but the senior keeper was up to the task both times. Although Christopher Newport earned back-to-back corners at the 60-minute mark, the Montclair State defense settled down and kept the squad scoreless.
In the waning moments of the game, MSU made one last run, but Dowling came back with another huge save. Following a CNU timeout, the offense attempted another surge. Moving the ball into the Red Hawk zone, the squad earned a final corner. Although Cahill was able to get a shot off, Montclair State blocked the last-ditch attempt to seal the shutout.
During the game, MSU out-shot the Captains 18-8, and held a 16-5 advantage in corners. Dowling came up big in her final collegiate appearance, posting nine saves for CNU. Bosland chipped in with three stops for the Red Hawks.