SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – November 7, 2007 - The Springfield College field hockey team advanced past King’s College (Pa.), 3-1, in the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship First Round on Wednesday evening at Stagg Field.
The win improves the Pride to 20-3, while the Monarchs' season comes to a close with a 15-5 record. Entering the game, the Pride was ranked 14th in the latest NFHCA poll.
With the win, Springfield advances to the second round of the Championship and will travel to take on Christopher Newport at Salisbury State in Maryland.
"This was probably the most focused we have been before a game all season," said Springfield College Head Coach Melissa Rogers. "Reaching the NCAAs was a goal, but we really do not want to settle for just making it to the tourney. Overall, we played pretty well tonight, although we did have a couple of lapses. Give King's credit for that. They are a good team.”
The Pride struck first at the 15:27 mark when Jane Kelleher (Chatham, Mass.) deflected a Brittany Veazie (Dexter, Maine) shot into the back of the goal. For Kelleher, who was recently named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Player of the Year, it was her 22nd goal of the year. Kelleher’s tally was the lone goal of the first half, even though Springfield constantly hounded Monarchs' goalie Kari Leach (Milford, Pa.), firing 16 shots on goal.
"Our whole forward line really played well tonight," added Rogers. "I can't say enough about Jane Kelleher. Her hustle was simply outstanding. And Jill Urtz has been a rock solid defender for us all season. She's been like a brick wall lately, especially since the start of the NEWMAC Tourney. “
Emily Murray (Booton, N.J.) tacked on the Pride’s second tally of the evening when she collected a loose ball in front of the cage and finished off a scramble in front at the 42:54 mark of the game.
The Pride registered its third goal in similar fashion to its first tally. Kelleher sent a shot in on goal only to have Veazie redirect the shot into the back of the cage with 16:18 remaining in the contest.
The Lady Monarchs struck right back about two and a half minutes later (13:51 remaining) for their first goal of the game when senior forward Debbie Wychock (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) blasted a shot from 10 yards out from Springfield senior goalie Emma Kaplan (Ridgfield, Conn.).
Kaplan finished the game with four saves and faced just five shots total. Leach was outstanding throughout the game in the cage for the Lady Monarchs, registering 21 saves.
"We're looking forward to going to Salisbury State, although that venue has not been too kind to us over the years," said Rogers. "This time I hope it's different. We'd love to break that curse. Christopher Newport is an athletic team, ranked 6th in the nation, but I'd like to think that we could give them a good game."
The Pride will next travel to square off against Christopher Newport (16-2) on Saturday, November 10 in a Round of 16 match-up. The game will be played on the campus of Salisbury State in Salisbury, Md. and is slated to begin at 2:00 pm.