SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (November 8, 2006) – Junior forward Amanda Lester scored four of her team’s goals in leading New England College to a 10-4 victory over host Springfield College in an NCAA Division III Field Hockey first-round contest on a record-setting afternoon at SC’s Benedum Field.
With the win, NEC, the Commonwealth Coast Conference champions, raised its overall record to 20-2. Meanwhile, Springfield, the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference champions, ended its season at 17-6. The game was played in a downpour throughout.
As a result of the victory, New England College moves on to play Lebanon Valley College (18-2) in Annville, Pennsylvania in a regional semifinal on Saturday (Nov. 11) at 10 am.
Two single-game team records were set in this encounter. The 10 goals scored by the Pilgrims established an NCAA Division III record for most goals scored by one team, breaking the old mark of 9 set twice previously. The old records had been set by TCNJ in a 9-1 victory over Rowan on Nov. 7, 1986, and by Skidmore in a 9-0 victory over Wellesley on November 16, 2002.
New England College and Springfield College also established a second NCAA Division III record for most goals scored combined by both teams – 14. The old record of 11 had been set by Messiah (7) vs. Alvernia (4) on Nov. 11, 2005.
In this game, it was the Pride of Springfield which got off to a fast start. Freshman Allie Baier, seeing her first action of the year, scored two goals in the first 3 minutes and 42 seconds, giving SC a quick 2-0 lead. Baier was destined to score all four goals for the Pride.
“I wasn’t overly concerned at that point,” said New England College Head Coach Susan Murray, now in her 15th season at the helm. “The reason was because I knew that our team could score. We had been averaging about 4 ½ goals on the season, so I thought we could still come back.”
And come back they did as senior defender Megan Simula (Bridgewater, N.H.) scored first for the Pilgrims at 11:35. Lester (Columbia, Conn.) then scored her 30th goal of the season, and first of the game, to tie it at 2-all at 21:13.
The Pilgrims then scored in lightning-quick fashion just 20 seconds later on a goal by sophomore midfielder Jodie Dresser (Keene, N.H.). That goal put New England College into the lead for good. Lester tallied her second goal at 27:38. And with just 54 seconds remaining in the first half, freshman forward Rebekah Cogswell (Bridgewater, Vt.) scored. That goal was assisted by senior forward Lori Zaniboni (Wenham, Mass.), the first of two assists for Zaniboni, who has been the national leader in assists for a good part of the season. That made it 5-2, NEC, at the half.
Cogswell and Zaniboni combined again at 40:27, just 5:27 into the second half, making it look pretty insurmountable for SC. But Baier scored her third goal of the game at 47:58, giving the Pride some hope and cutting the score to 6-3.
Then junior forward/midfielder Brittney Vogrin (Toronto, Ontario) scored for NEC at 53:59, lengthening the Pilgrims’ lead to 7-3. At 58:43, Baier scored her fourth and final goal for SC, cutting the score to 7-4.
But NEC tallied three more goals in a 3-minute, 14-second span to wrap it up. Two of those goals, at 64:36 and 66:58, were scored by Lester, while the final goal was scored by Vogrin at 67:50.
Senior goalkeeper Jacqui Parker (Keene, N.H.) made 27 saves in a game that resembled a shooting gallery on both sides. “She did a nice job today,” said Murray, “especially given the conditions. It’s not so easy tending goal in the pouring rain.”
For Springfield, junior goalkeeper Julia Kincade (Durham, N.H.) registered 15 saves. Springfield actually had more shots (37-32) and more penalty corners (10-8).
“I’m so proud of this team’s effort,” said Murray. “We had so many fine performances. Lester has been the team’s and conference’s leading scorer (now with 33 goals) all season long. I thought Cogswell (2 goals this afternoon) did a nice job. Vogrin (2 goals) showed her quickness. And Zaniboni continued to show why she is a natural assist leader.
“What do I know about Lebanon Valley?,” asked Murray rhetorically. “They are not in our region, so not a whole lot. But I do know that (head coach) Laurel Martin does a wonderful job year-in and year-out at Lebanon Valley. She’s a terrific coach and is quite successful. I know we’ll have our hands full.”