Freshman Park's pair of goals lead Tufts past Montclair St. for NCAA title
GENEVA, N.Y. -- First-year Hannah Park scored twice as Tufts won 2-1 against Montclair State on Sunday to capture the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship at William Smith's McCooey Field. It's the first NCAA women's team title in Tufts history.
Park's pair of first-half goals helped Tufts overcome a 1-0 deficit in the game. She also had an assist in the team's 2-0 semi-final win against DePauw and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. First-year players scored all four goals and had two of the team's three assists in Tufts' tournament play.
"This is definitely a dream come true," Park said. "I remember this summer thinking how awesome it would be just to make it to the national championship."
The Red Hawks (22-2) opened the scoring, earning a penalty corner in the 11th minute. Junior Sierra Rauchbach sent a cross from the left side of the cage to senior Frances Schaefer on the right side. Her first attempt was turned back by Tufts goalie Brianna Keenan, but Schaefer collected her own rebound and scored her 18th goal of the year.
In the 16th minute, the Jumbos (19-2) pulled even on a penalty corner of their own. They inserted the ball to the top of the circle where Dakota Sikes-Keilp sent up a shot that senior Megan Bosland kicked to her right. The ricochet landed on the Park's stick. She fired it home for her fourth goal of the season.
Tufts took the lead with 6:34 left in the opening half. First-year Alexandra Jamison sent a pass from outside the circle into the middle, where Park redirected it for her second goal of the afternoon.
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The Red Hawks had a chance to pull even just before halftime. On a scramble in front of the Jumbo goal, Keenan saved a shot from her left. The rebound was stopped by senior Rachel Gerhardt's defensive save, but the third MSU attempt was kept out of the goal by a body ball, resulting in a penalty stroke. With 4:24 left in the half, junior Stephanie Lewis missed the shot wide left.
In the second half, Montclair State earned several scoring opportunities early, earning four corners in the first 11 minutes. The Red Hawks briefly celebrated what they thought was a game-tying goal off a corner, but one of the MSU players entered the circle too early and the goal was waived off.
In the final 24 minutes, the Jumbos limited the Red Hawks to just a single shot. Keenan earned the win with five saves. Bosland made four stops for the Red Hawks.
MSU had a 12-11 edge in shots, while Tufts had an 8-7 advantage in corners.