By Nicholas Saccaro
On Sunday at Whitenight Field, ESU’s field hockey team (17-3) took on the Millersville Marauders (18-2) in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title game.
Earlier on Friday, the No. 1 seed Warriors beat West Chester in the semifinals by a score of 3-1 to get to the finals.
In the first semifinal game, No. 2 seed Millersville defeated Bloomsburg University 1-0 to get to the finals as well.It was fitting that the championship game pitted the Warriors and Marauders because they were the top two teams in the PSAC.
Millersville was the veteran team playing in its fourth straight PSAC title game. They finished runner-up in 2012, 2014 and 2015. In 2013, the Marauders won the title.
Both schools are among the top defensive teams in the nation. Millersville has only allowed eight goals in twenty games. ESU has only allowed fifteen goals in twenty games. The game was set up to be a defensive struggle.
The Warriors played a smart game. They defended well and knew where they had to be on the field. They also communicated well.
Millersville led ESU 6-3 in shots and 8-3 in penalty corners. Thanks to ESU junior goalkeeper Danielle Ard’s four saves, the Warriors were able to keep the Marauders scoreless and claimed their seventh shutout of the season.
Despite Millersville outshooting ESU, junior forward Marisa Miro found a way to score off a penalty corner in the tenth minute. Miro netted her fifth goal of the season and sealed the first ever PSAC title for the Warriors.
ESU junior back Emily Howell was named MVP of the PSAC Tournament.
Last week, Howell, senior forward Ally Roth and junior midfielder Desiraye Mack were named to the All-PSAC field hockey first team.
Last Monday, the NCAA announced that ESU was the top seed in Division II’s Atlantic Region. It was the seventh time in school history that the Warriors were selected for the postseason NCAA Tournament (1987, 1988, 1990, 2001, 2009 and 2010).
Now in her thirty-second year, head coach Sandy Miller and the Warriors are looking to make a run at ESU’s first national title.
With seniors Ally Roth, Lindsay Blum and Samantha Hosford leading the way, the Warriors have a chance at reaching their goal of a DII national title.
As the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Region, the Warriors received a bye and will play the winner of the semifinal between Millersville and West Chester on Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. at Bloomsburg University.
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