Salisbury, Md. – The No. 9 ranked Trinity College Bantams fell, 2-1, to the No. 6 ranked Ursinus College Bears in the second round of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium at Salisbury University. Trinity ends its season with a 13-5 record while Ursinus improves to 17-4 and advances to the third round game tomorrow against host Salisbury.
After a back-and-forth first five minutes that featured good defense by both teams, Trinity earned the first corner of the game which presented the first true scoring opportunity of the game. Junior Kelcie Finn (Weymouth, Mass.) fired a shot from the top of the circle after the insertion, but the ball missed just wide left as it hit the tire on the left side of the goal and bounced away. A few minutes later, Ursinus had its first true scoring chance when senior Ann Kopera (Langhorne, Pa.) sent a shot destined for goal with Bantam junior goalie Lori Berger (Scottsdale, Ariz.) out of the net, however first-year midfielder Olivia Hoyda (Darien, Conn.) made an excellent defensive save at the goal line to keep things scoreless.
Ursinus broke the scoreless tie in the 19th minute off a corner when Erin Saybolt (Souderton, Pa.) fired a shot from the left of the circle that beat Berger to the back right post, putting the Bears ahead, 1-0. Not to be outdone, Trinity answered a mere 20 seconds later as Finn took the restart straight down the field and laced a shot from just outside the circle that re-directed off the stick of sophomore Allison Slowe (Medfield, Mass.) and past Ursinus goalie Jules Singer (Newtown, Pa.).
The Bantam defense, led by senior tri-captain Mackenzie Taskey (Bethesda, Md.), sophomore Molly Reilly (Andover, Mass.) and first-year Callyn Cass (Summit, N.J.) held strong for much of the half as the Bears managed only three shots on goal in the first 35 minutes despite earning five corners.
Ursinus drew a penalty corner five minutes into the second frame that saw a hard shot by Bear junior Brooke Overly (Ephrata, Pa.) off the insert, but Berger came up with a big save as she kicked the ball off her left leg pad to end the threat. Overly had another chance to break ahead for Ursinus with 24 minutes to play in the half as she found herself one-on-one with Berger, but Berger once again stifled Overly's shot to preserve the tie for the time being. After a relentless attack, the Bears finally broke the tie when Colleen Leahy (Brookhaven, N.Y.) received a pass from Saybolt in front of Trinity's net and slapped a one-timer into goal, giving the Bears a 2-1 lead with 22 minutes to play. Bantam senior tri-captain Mia Olsen (Granby, Conn.) nearly tied it back up off of a penalty corner, firing a shot towards goal, but her shot missed the box wide to no avail. Bantam sophomore forward Chandler Solimine (Pelham, N.Y.) also almost scored the equalizer with nine minutes left off an Ursinus turnover in its own defensive end, but Solimine's shot sailed wide right of the net. Despite its best efforts, Trinity was unable to get a chance to score again as Ursinus played keep away for the remainder of the half to hold on for the 2-1 victory.
Finn, the 2016 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Player of the Year, reflected on the team's tournament run. "We're young. None of us have been here before in the NCAAs. It's huge to come to the NCAA Tournament and get this experience. I think we'll come back next year stronger than ever."
post-game press conference