By Ronald Hanaki
The Shippensburg University Raiders beat ESU’s field hockey team 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament at Whitenight Field last Saturday afternoon.
In two earlier meetings, ESU beat Ship 1-0 in overtime and 2-1 in double-overtime, but the third time would be the charm for the Raiders.
Ship drew first blood in the first half. In the 23rd minute, Ship’s shot-on-goal was saved by ESU senior goalkeeper Danielle Ard, but the rebound went to Ship senior forward Cassie Rawa. Rawa scored on the second chance to give the Raiders an early 1-0 lead.
Lightning would strike ESU again early in the second half. One minute after intermission, Ship senior forward Katelyn Grazan fired a rocket shot that blew past Ard to make it 2-0 Raiders.
The two PSAC heavyweights would continue to trade scoring chances.
The play of the game happened in the 53rd minute. Ship sophomore goalkeeper Ally Mooney came out of the circle to defend senior midfielder Emily Howell’s shot, but Howell’s shot got past Mooney. Incredibly, Ship senior Taylor Fisher dived in front of the goal and saved an almost sure score.
On the ensuing play, the Warriors would get another chance to score. This time, ESU junior midfielder Sydney McCarthy fired a perfect shot that beat sophomore goalkeeper Ally Mooney cleanly to make it a one-goal deficit for ESU.
The Warriors would have more chances to score, but they would not find the back of net for the rest of the afternoon.
In total, ESU outshot Ship 13-7. The Warriors also held the edge in penalty corners 11-5, but the advantage did not translate into more goals for ESU.
This was the first time in program history that ESU hosted an NCAA Division II Tournament game.
The Warriors finished the season 15-5. ESU tied Ship for the best record in the PSAC with a 9-1 record in the regular season.
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