Nov. 13, 2010

Courtesy of Eastern University Athletics

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.--Throughout the 2010 season, Eastern University Field Hockey has followed a fairly basic formula for winning games. Again today, the #8 Eagles used solid possession, good defense, and timely scoring to earn another shutout win. Jess Jaindl put away a rebound in the 59th minute for the only goal in a NCAA 2nd Round win over Stevens Tech. With the win, Eastern (20-2) advances to the 'Elite Eight' for the first time in program history. The Eagles will face host Skidmore College, a 2-1 overtime winner against TCNJ earlier in the day, tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. for the right to compete in the final four.

The Eagles controlled much of the play through the opening half, but they were only able to fire three shots despite a 5-0 advantage in first-half penalty corners. Stevens (11-11) was only able to release a single shot through the first 35 minutes of play.

"It took us a while to get our feet under ourselves," Head Coach Camrin Azzarano said after the game, "we were a little stuck in the turf. We were playing too defensively in the first half."

In the ten minutes of halftime, the Eastern staff asked their forwards to do more work in taking away possession. Out of the intermission, the Eagles followed those instructions to assert themselves with steals in the attacking end. Eastern had eight penalty corners and four shots in the opening eleven minutes of the half, but the game remained level as the Stevens Tech defense held their ground deep in their own end.

Stevens had a pair of penalty corners and Laura Ressler turned away her first save of the game in the 51st minute, but the Eagles continued to control play, and it seemed that it would only be a matter of time before the Eagles would break through.

Senior forward Kim Campbell fired a shot from the right that started the action on the game-winner. The Eagles squandered 17 penalty corner opportunities on the afternoon. With the Ducks packing the circle with the teams at even strength, penalty corners seemed to be the only chance to get clear shots at goal. Azzarano called theplay for Campbell to test the goal.

"The ball comes off her stick like a rocket, with almost no backswing," Azzarano said of the initial shot. Campbell missed nearly two weeks with an injury, but the senior forward has been working her way back into the line-up, and she made a difference today.

Herbster had moved into position in front of the goalie and flicked the rebound to her left where Jaindl stepped quickly to the ball and deposited her team-best 17th goal of the year. "Jaindl has completely changed our game in the circle," Azzarano commented in describing the goal, "we've never had a player able to tip like her in the circle."

"I was the first one to it," Jaindl said, "I saw an opening and hit it as hard as I could into the the goal." The Freedom Conference Rookie of the Year now has four game-winning goals this year.

With the Eagles dominating play, it seemed that the game was well in hand, but Stevens had a last attempt at an equalizer with two and a half minutes to play. Senior goalie Laura Ressler came off her line to snuff out a breakaway to secure the shutout win.

"That save was massive," Azzarano said, "Laura did not have a lot of activity today, but she made the big save when we needed it." Ressler finished with two saves to secure her sixth straight shutout.

The 20th win establishes a new program high, but the Eagles are more concerned with the future than they are with records. They will battle #5 Skidmore for a chance to be the first Eastern University team to reach a Final Four. They are the second Eastern University team to reach an NCAA Quarterfinal.

"It's a big rush," Jaindl commented after the game, "you know that no game is going to be given to you so you have to be ready to compete for everything."