BRUNSWICK, Maine November 12, 2005 - The Springfield College field hockey squad advanced to the third-round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 victory over Middlebury in penalty strokes on Saturday afternoon. The ninth-ranked Pride, winners of 19 of its last 20 games, improve to 21-2 on the year and avenge a 2-1 loss to the Panthers on September 11. The Panthers, ranked 10th in the nation, finish their year with a record of 14-4.
Springfield moves on to face Bowdoin in the regional final on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The winner advances to the NCAA Championship weekend on November 18-19 at Washington & Lee University in Virginia. The Pride are familiar with the Polar Bears, especially in tournament play, as it ended Bowdoin's bids in both the 1999 and 2000 NCAA Tournaments.
The Pride got on the board first with a goal less than eight minutes into the game. The tally came off a penalty corner chance, as sophomore forward Eileen Jenkins (Gorham, Maine) played a ball to senior midfielder Erin Bosch (Shoreham, N.Y.), who then stopped it for senior back Jaclyn Galligan (Hopedale, Mass.). Galligan ripped a shot from the top of the circle to the back of the goal for a 1-0 lead with 27:45 remaining in the opening frame.
SC maintained its one-goal lead into the second period, where Middlebury evened the score early in the half. A loose ball in the circle came to the stick of Nina Daugherty, who slapped it into the goal to even the game with 31:24 remaining. Neither team could find the game-winner and the contest headed into overtime.
Middlebury had the best chance to end the game in overtime, as Reid Berrien collected a ball at midfield and had a breakaway chance. An attempt to slide the ball past Pride sophomore goaltender Emma Kaplan (Ridgefield, Conn.) proved futile, however, as the sophomore netminder made a sliding pad-save to keep the game deadlocked. Following two scoreless extra sessions, the game advanced to penalty strokes.
The penalty stroke session was over quickly, as the visiting Panthers missed on their first three chances. The Pride scored on its first three tries, including the game-winner to the bottom right of the cage from senior forward Sarah Brooker (Auburn, Maine) to clinch the victory. Kaplan was sensational in net for SC, keeping her team in the game with 31 saves. Middlebury, who could not convert on a dozen penalty corner chances, received 10 stops from netminder Meghan McGillen.