East Stroudsburg takes home DII national title
BLOOMSBURG - Senior forward Ally Roth converted a penalty stroke 4:48 into overtime to give East Stroudsburg University its first-ever NCAA Division II field hockey championship with a 1-0 (OT) win vs. Merrimack on Sunday afternoon at Bloomsburg University.
Roth drew the penalty stroke and found the upper left corner of the goal to give ESU the national title, its first in any sport since winning a pair of NCAA DII men's gymnastics titles in 1983 and 1984.
The senior forward, a two-time NFHCA All-America first team selection, scored her 21st goal of the season, 74th of her career, fifth overtime game-winner and second on a penalty stroke.
ESU (19-3) dominated most of the contest, holding advantages of 28-10 in shots and 18-10 in penalty corners, before finally breaking through in the extra session.
The Warriors reached the championship game with a 6-2 win vs. West Chester on Friday.
Merrimack (16-6), also playing for its first national title, advanced to the final with a 2-1 (OT) win vs. Adelphi in the first round and a 1-0 win vs. Stonehill, the No. 1 seed in the East Region, in the semifinals.
Madison Davis had 11 saves for Merrimack, which ranked eighth of 31 DII schools in scoring defense (1.29 gaa) entering the weekend.
ESU delivered the PSAC's 21st DII championship in 24 years and is the sixth PSAC school with a DII field hockey title. The Warriors join West Chester (2011-12), Millersville (2013) and Shippensburg (2014) as recent first-time winners. Bloomsburg (13) and Lock Haven (5) have also won DII championships.
The Warriors won the sixth overtime game in DII championship game history, including the fourth in the last 12 years. Shippensburg won the most recent overtime championship, 2-1, vs. LIU Post in 2013.
ESU played in the national championship game for the second time under head coach Sandy Miller, who improves to 376-259-11 in her 32nd season. The Warriors were runner-up to Bentley in 2001. They appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time (DIII 1987-88, 90; DII 2001, 09-10, 15).
ESU finishes with a school record for wins (19-3), surpassing the mark of 17 wins set in 1995 (17-4) and tied in 2010 (17-6).
Junior goalkeeper Danielle Ard had two saves for ESU, one in each half. The Warriors held an 11-5 advantage in shots in the first half, then posted a 15-4 margin in the second half, including 12 penalty corners.