By Michael Otero
On Thursday December 4, the field hockey team took on the Skyhawks from Stonehill College in the NCAA Division II semi-finals in Louisville, Kentucky. The Pioneers gutted out a 3-2 win, and advanced to the NCAA Division II finals, for the second time in as many years.
The Pioneers got on the board first with a goal in the 20th minute of the match. Senior forward Lyn-Marie Wilson found the back of the cage off a pass from graduate midfielder Dani Crouse. Looking to respond, the Skyhawks weaved their way into Pioneer territory and converted on a shot attempt from junior forward Lauren Giordano. The score evened the contest at one apiece. Through the first half, the Pioneers held the advantage in shots by three, but found themselves deadlocked on the scoreboard.
The Pioneers were the aggressors early in the second half, and it paid off. Senior forward Stephanie Ruhle dove in front of the cage and was able to squeak a shot passed the Skyhawk goal keeper. Stonehill, again looking to respond, did so with a goal just three minutes later, to draw even at two. With the score tied at two and the momentum hanging in the balance, the Pioneers seized the opportunity. In the 60th minute, sophomore midfielder Abi Sawyer fired a shot from the top of the circle into the top-left corner of the cage, giving the Pioneers the one goal advantage. The Pioneers did not relinquish the lead, and they marched on to play the Marauders from Millersville University in the title game.
On Saturday December 6, the Pioneers played the final game of their 2014 campaign, the NCAA Division II Field Hockey final. Their opponent, Millersville, was a staggering 20-3 for the season. Not to be outdone, the Pioneers came in with an 18-3 record. The match featured one lone goal, which came in the 46th minute. Off a penalty corner, Millersville senior defender Rachel Dickinson converted a goal, which ended up being the game winner. The Pioneers, who have reached the NCAA finals in back-to-back seasons, finished both years with losses by one goal in each contest.
For their efforts through the NCAA Tournament, seniors Taylor-Bay Sutton, Wilson, and Crouse were selected to the 2014 NCAA All-Tournament squad. The field hockey team, led by head coach Raenee Savin, has a lot to be proud of, with one of the best seasons in LIU Post and Division II history. They will look to have yet another great season in the fall of 2015.