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fieldhockey-d2 flag | November 8, 2013

No. 2 Millersville heads to PSAC finals, to meet No. 1 Shippensburg

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- West Chester dominated the first 35 minutes, but Millersville flipped a switch and eventually overcame the Golden Rams 1-0 on Sarah Bomberger's goal in overtime to advance back to the PSAC championship for the second year in a row.

Despite having defeated No. 4 West Chester (14-5) twice in the regular season, Millersville (17-2) started slowly against a relentless Golden Ram attack, which earned three corners and placed a pair of shots on goal in the opening two minutes. It continued throughout the half, and Sotzin made five saves, and Emily Litchford turned another away just in front of the cage. Millersville's offense, however, managed just one shot and came up empty on several point-blank opportunities. That all changed during the final 37:20.

"I think we are a little nervy," Millersville coach Shelly Behrens said. "We know what's at stake now. Getting that second taste of championship experience, we were playing not to mess up. We were tentative, but when we got more definite, we got more structure in our attack."

West Chester recorded 13 penalty corners and did not surrender a single corner to the Marauders through the first 35 minutes. The Millersville backline defense, led by Sotzin, was up for the challenge. She stopped all of West Chester's 10 first-half shots.

Sotzin finished the game with nine saves and each one was paramount. The Marauders' finally broke through 2:20 into the overtime period when Bomberger took a shot from the left of the cage that tipped off of a West Chester defender and past keeper Audree Bonavita.

West Chester gained the first opportunity in the overtime session. Off of a penalty corner, Marnie Kusakavitch took a shot that was saved by Sotzin. Millersville quickly advanced forward and earned a corner where Bomberger lifted a shot high past Bonavita and off of the stick of a diving West Chester defender.

Millersville returns to the PSAC championship game for the fourth time in school history. Millersville lost to West Chester in last season's title game, but returned the favor by topping the Rams three times this season. It is the first time Millersville has  defeated the same opponent three times in one season.

The Marauders are in search of their first conference championship since 1986. A win would also set a school record for wins in a season.

No. 1 Shippensburg 1, No. 6 Bloomsburg 0

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- A diving save by senior goalkeeper Carenna Neely on a Bloomsburg penalty stroke attempt and a goal from senior Lauren Taylor during the first half of Friday afternoon's first PSAC Semifinal sparked the Shippensburg to a 1-0 shutout of the Huskies from Robb Sports Complex.

The undefeated and top-seeded Raiders (18-0) advance to Saturday's PSAC championship game at 2:30 p.m. against No. 2 Millersville.

SU will play in its third conference championship game in the past five seasons after recording its second 1-0 defeat of the fourth-seeded Huskies (13-7) this season. The Raiders haven't won a PSAC championship since 2005, when they earned a come-from-behind 5-4 victory against BU in the finals.

"The kids were so focused and we knew what we had to do, we had to beat them to the ball and we did that the first half," Shippensburg head coach Bertie Landes said. "The second half I didn't think we came out as strong. But the kids really kept to the game plan of passing the ball and seeing our splits and playing good defense."

After an even start to the game, the Huskies were awarded a penalty stroke after an SU foul in front of the cage with 15:42 left in the first half. Bloomsburg's Brittany Mathews ripped an attempt to her left but Neely read it instantly and deflected the shot away with her outstretched stick for one of her six saves on the afternoon.

"We kinda thought that'd be where [Mathews] would go," Landes said. "But Carenna had a great jump on it."

Taylor capitalized on SU's fortunate break nearly seven minutes later with her team-leading 15th goal of the season after she sent in a penalty corner from the left side that eventually found its way back to her. Her pass toward the front of the cage was deflected back to her by the post, where she cleaned up for the lone goal of the game and the only score SU would need to advance to Saturday.

Neely recorded her fifth shutout of the season while Taylor and senior Megan Jett each tallied a team-high three shots. Senior Bre White and junior Ari Saytar each took two shots.

No. 3 LIU Post 5, Adelphi 0

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. -- It only took sophomore forward Keliann Margiotta a little more than 25 minutes into the Northeast-10 semifinal matchup to record a hat trick, leading the third-ranked and top-seeded LIU Post to a 5-0 victory against fourth-seeded Adelphi on Friday afternoon. The Pioneers will host the NE-10 championship game on 1 p.m. Sunday against the third-seeded Stonehill.

Margiotta scored the first three goals for the Pioneers (19-0), with the first one coming in the 12th minute. She teamed with junior forward Stephanie Ruhle on a fast-break down the field, and Margiotta sent a give-and-go to Ruhle who found her for the score.  Another fast-break seven minutes later led to Margiotta's second score of the afternoon on an unassisted tally as she went one-on-one with Adelphi's goalie Kelly Serrao.

Soon after, graduate midfielder Dani Crouse  sent a hard cross from the right of the circle to the waiting Margiotta at the right flank, who tipped it in for the 3-0 lead.

The score remained 3-0 for the final 10 minutes of the first half. The Panthers managed one shot attempt in the first to the Pioneers eight.

Just under nine minutes into the second half, freshman midfielder Lauren Adamusik secured the ball after a scramble in front of the net and shot into the back of the cage past the diving Serrao.

The nation's leading scorer, senior forward Carlee Dragon tacked on an exclamation point in the 56th minute as Margiotta found her off a penalty corner.

Freshman Meredith Stocklin got the win in goal for the Pioneers, logging 48 minutes and making one save. Fellow freshman Ericka Parks relieved Stocklin for the final 22 minutes of play. For Adelphi, Serrao made five saves.

No. 5 Stonehill 3, No. 7 Merrimack

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Unanimous Northeast-10 first-team all-conference selection Erika Kelly scored twice for Stonehill, while teammate Emily Sideris scored once and assisted on both of Kelly's tallies in a 3-2 victory Friday afternoon against Merrimack.

The Skyhawks got out to a 3-0 lead with 5:30 left in the first half, although the Warriors cut the lead to 3-1 on a Katrina Squeri goal shortly before halftime. Merrimack then cut the deficit to one on a Jessica Otis goal three minutes into the second half, but the game went scoreless the rest of the way to put the Skyhawks in Sunday's title game.