BLOOMSBURG, Pa. - The old adage is "to be the best, you have to beat the best." That is exactly what the eighth-ranked Bloomsburg University field hockey team did on Tuesday afternoon.
In the 2016 home opener, the Huskies scored three second-half goals and blanked top-ranked and defending Division II national champion East Stroudsburg by a 3-0 final in a non-conference affair at a sun-drenched Steph Pettit Stadium. With the victory, Bloomsburg improved to 2-1 on the young season while the Warriors dropped to an identical 2-1 overall record. The teams will meet again in East Stroudsburg on October 4 in the conference matchup.
The last time East Stroudsburg played at Steph Pettit Stadium, it resulted in the program's first-ever National Championship when it knocked off Merrimack 1-0 in overtime on a penalty stroke goal last November.
FH: Check out post-game interview with senior goalkeeper Lindsay Cassel after the Huskies' big win against #1 ESU... https://t.co/ieRnJY4Omm— BU Huskies (@GoBUHuskies) September 6, 2016
The first half was quiet as the teams combined for no goals, four shots on goal (two by each team), and five penalty corners - three by East Stroudsburg.
Senior Lindsay Cassel made a big save in the game's opening minute against East Stroudsburg's Emily Howell but then did not face another shot until stopping Desiraye Mack with just over five minutes remaining in the opening 35 minutes. Meanwhile, the Huskies attempted six shots against East Stroudsburg starter, Danielle Ard, but only had two on goal - one by senior Stephanie Halsted and one from sophomore Tali Wehner.
The second half started much like the first but then picked up after Bloomsburg senior Alexis Carroll was assessed a yellow card at 48:39. During that time, East Stroudsburg went on the attack as it was awarded three successive penalty corners and managed to get two shots on Cassel. The senior goalkeeper was able to keep the Warriors off the scoreboard, enabling the Huskies to return to full strength. Shortly thereafter, Bloomsburg was awarded back-to-back penalty corners with the second resulting in the first goal of the season for Halsted at 54:18. Senior Peyton Shockley took the initial shot that was stopped by Ard but senior Sam Peters was there to tap the rebound to Halsted who gave the Huskies the 1-0 advantage.
It was Halsted's sixth career goal and proved to be her second career game-winning tally. Her first came at Seton Hill on October 13, 2015.
Freshman Ali McKay ballooned the lead to 2-0 when she knocked home her first collegiate goal with 7:08 remaining on the clock. The goal resulted off of a penalty corner with Shockley finding McKay at the side of the goal for a redirection past the East Stroudsburg goalkeeper. Sophomore Erica Krebs then sealed the deal for the Huskies with her first goal of the season — second of her career — with 27 seconds left in regulation. The sophomore scampered around the circle, got Ard off balance, and slid one past the Warrior netminder's diving attempt at a save.
Bloomsburg held a sizeable 10-5 shot advantage in the second half and outshot the Warriors, 16-7, for the contest. The Huskies also earned seven corners in the second half, as compared to East Stroudsburg's five, and egded the Warriors in that department as well, 9-8.
Cassel earned her first shutout of the season by stopping six East Stroudsburg shots. It was her eighth career shutout. Meanwhile, Ard suffered her first loss of the season with seven saves in defeat.
The win snapped a three-game losing skid against the Warriors as Bloomsburg had not defeated East Stroudsburg since a 2-1 home win on October 9, 2013. The Huskies did, however, improve to 47-9-0 lifetime against their Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rivals.
The Huskies will play their next four games on the road beginning with a weekend trip to Kentucky on Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11. Bloomsburg will play at Bellarmine on Saturday at noon before playing a neutral contest against Queens University of Charlotte in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday at noon.