Hildebrand

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Defending national champion Trinity (Conn.) is headed back to the semifinals after outscoring TCNJ 8-2 in the final 44:33 minutes of a 12-7 victory in the national quarterfinals on Sunday. Trinity improves to 20-0 with its school-record 28th consecutive win. TCNJ ended its season at 15-5.

Trinity will play Cortland State in a rematch of last spring’s NCAA semifinal match won by Trinity 7-5.

Trailing 5-4 with 14:33 left in the first half, Trinity scored three consecutive goals to take its first lead of the game at 6-5 and extended to 7-5 with 10:18 left before the break. First-year midfielder Martha Griffin scored unassisted to tie the game at five at the 13:36 mark and junior attacker Shea Kusiak netted the second of her game-high four goals on a free position with 11:01 on the clock. Sophomore midfielder Lindsay Mullaney completed the run 43 seconds later on another free position and the team traded goals before the half for an 8-6 Bantam lead after 30 minutes.

Trinity senior attacker Kaitlin Hildebrand, who scored the final goal before intermission, assisted sophomore midfielder Caroline Hayes for the opening goal of the second stanza. Kusiak scored again four minutes later, before Lion freshman Cortney Natalicchio ended a 21:54 scoring drought for TCNJ. 

The Bantam defense, led by senior tri-captain Mallory Hinman, senior Hillary McNamara, and juniors Midge Daniel and Lyndsey Shepard held the Lions scoreless the rest of the way. Bantam first-year goalie Emily Mooney played well in a relief role, saving three of the five shots on goal she faced in 44:33 of play, including a late stop from point-blank range in the final 10 minutes. Kusiak and Hildebrand scored insurance goals for the only goals of the game’s final 15 minutes.

TCNJ's offense got off to a fast start, scoring five times in the first 15:27 of play, but Trinity answered each Lion goal with a score of their own. Borup opened the scoring 2:23 into the game on a free-position shot that was answered by a scoring drive through traffic by Hayes 1:17 later.  The teams continued that trend four more times, before Kusiak’s second goal gave Trinity the lead for good.

“College of New Jersey came out aggressive and took advantage of our fouls to score on free positions, but offensively we were able to match them every time until we were able to make an adjustment defensively,” Trinity head coach Kate Livesay said. “We did a much better job on defense once we had the lead.”

Trinity outshot TCNJ 23-13 and held a 15-6 ground-ball advantage. The Bantams won 12 of 21 draw controls and forced 15 turnovers while committing just 10. TCNJ took advantage of 28 Trinity fouls and scored twice each on free positions and extra-player opportunities.