UR Field Hockey’s journey toward a national championship was cut short on Sunday after a 5–0 loss to Middlebury College. For only the third time in school history, the Yellowjackets advanced to the Elite Eight in the Division III National Championships.
Throughout the quarter-final match, UR struggled to connect offensively, with shots by sophomore midfielder Colleen Maillie and junior attacker Nancy Bansbach ending up a little wide of the cage. Nonetheless, Rochester’s defensive specialists were strong and held Middlebury scoreless until the final 28 seconds of this first half. By halftime, Rochester had been limited to just one shot.
At the start of the second half, the ‘Jackets had opportunities to even the score against the Panthers, but continued to have trouble scoring off penalty corners. At 42:44, the Panthers were able to take a 2–0 lead after scoring off a penalty shot. Toward the end of the second half, Middlebury was still connecting on its penalty shots, and ended up taking a 5–0 lead in the last few minutes of the game.
Despite a hard loss, this Yellowjacket team has much to be proud of. This year’s success has only further solidified the ‘Jackets position in Division III field hockey as a force to be reckoned with in future seasons. The UR Field Hockey team has now qualified for the NCAA tournament three years in a row, won the Liberty League Championship, and matched a school record for wins in a single season.
Players are already looking forward to next season.
“It’s exciting to be able to say we took the program to the next level and I think we can just look forward to getting further in the NCAA’s next year with a lot of new talent and hard work,” Maillie said.
In the first game of the tournament, the ‘Jackets came out on top with a hard-fought 2–1 victory over Husson University last Saturday.
Powered by an impressive performance from junior midfielder Jennifer Lee, the ‘Jackets started strong with senior Claire Dickerson’s shot on goal after their first penalty corner of the game. The ‘Jackets continued to attack against Husson, notching six shots on goal in the first half.
In the 22nd minute, Lee guided in a cross from Bansbach to break the scoreless tie. UR continued with an offensive mindset, with another shot on goal by Bansbach who followed up on a shot on goal from sophomore Maillie.
The ‘Jackets went to halftime having attempted more shots on goal than Husson, and leading the scoreboard 1–0. Returning from halftime, Husson quickly made it on the board tying the score at 1–1. The ‘Jackets did not let the game’s sudden change of pace distract them, as they continued to attack with shots off a penalty corner. In the 39th minute both sophomore attacker Maya Haigis and Dickerson attempted strong shots, but Husson’s goalie blocked them both to keep the game tied 1–1.
At 39:29, Lee added her second goal of the night, making the score 2–1 and allowing Rochester to take the lead.
As the second half progressed, the Eagles had chances on goal, but they were no match for senior goalie Kiran Sundaram who continued to be a force in the net. There was a last chance opportunity for Husson to even the score, but it was not enough as the ‘Jackets prevailed 2–1, once again outshooting the Eagles, this time 13–5, in the second half.
“Obviously Claire Dickerson has stepped up into an offensive force her senior year, and our senior goalkeepers have combined to have one of the lowest goals against averages in the country. But what I love about this team is that everyone is contributing and making an impact,” Coach Wendy Andreatta said. “I think the biggest difference for this group was a refuse to lose attitude and belief that they can and will achieve their goals.”