EASTON, Mass. – All season long, the Shippensburg University field hockey team has sought to "Leave a Legacy," playing in memory of their late coach and player Amanda Strous by uniting under the collective mantra of "Live, Laugh, Love."
On Sunday, the most emotional season in the history of SU Field Hockey culminated with a NCAA Division II National Championship, as the Raiders defeated East No. 1 seed LIU Post, 2-1, on a cold and windy afternoon at Stonehill College's W.B. Mason Stadium.
Shippensburg (20-3), the No. 3 team from the Atlantic Region, won three straight games as a lower seed to claim national glory – first beating No. 2 seed East Stroudsburg on their home turf in the NCAA Quarterfinals (2-1) before Friday's victory over No. 1 seed Millersville in the NCAA Semifinals.
In Sunday's win, the Raiders scored an early goal seven minutes into the contest on a highlight-reel goal, as junior Emily Barnard had a diving tip-in on a long hit from junior Brooke Sheibley that gave Shippensburg a 1-0 lead.
SU led by the same score at the intermission having posted a 6-1 edge in penalty corners and controlling much of the possession. That continued into the second half, and the Raiders ultimately went ahead 2-0 with 8:50 remaining when senior Katelyn Grazan slammed home a loose ball off a scrum into an open cage.
LIU Post (16-4) called timeout after the second goal and substituted its goaltender for a kicking back. The Pioneers applied incredible pressure down the stretch, scoring a goal with 4:14 remaining and nearly tying the game in the final minute with a rocket shot toward the left cage that was blockered away by redshirt-sophomore Ally Mooney.
Shippensburg ultimately survived the final flurry for the victory, winning by the exact same score as it did over LIU Post in 2013 (2-1). It was the first meeting between the two teams since that National Championship game.
SU finished as the national leader in goals-against average (GAA) (0.46), save percentage (.899) and shutouts (14). The 14 shutouts tie the school record set by the 1979 team.
Shippensburg made its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance and is now 7-10 overall in NCAA postseason play. The Raiders are now 2-1 in NCAA Championship games, with the other appearance being in the 2010 title contest versus Massachusetts-Lowell. SU also won an AIAW Division III national title under Jane Goss back in 1979.
SU is just the second No. 3 seed to win a NCAA Championship, joining the 2011 West Chester team.