Field hockey wins Conference Championship, taken down in NCAA

BY JONATHAN PRESSMAN ’14
Senior Staff Writer

After the most successful season in the program’s history, a Centennial Conference Championship title, and an 18-game win streak, the F&M women’s field hockey team bowed out of the NCAA tournament, falling to 15th ranked Eastern University.

On a frigid Wednesday afternoon, the Diplomats battled the Eastern Eagles for 72 minutes, before Jess Jaindl of Eastern slipped a goal past F&M goalkeeper Avery Koep ’14. The meeting between the two nationally ranked teams was the second of the season, with the first matchup resulting in a 3-1 F&M victory back on Sept. 4.

Though the season came to an unexpected and untimely halt, the future of this young and flourishing program is bright, as the team will look forward to next year’s season under the tutelage of Melissa Mariano, head coach of the field hockey team. The Dips closed the 2012 season with a national ranking of four, and will bid farewell to seven seniors, many of whom were the backbone of F&M’s starting lineup.

The trio of captains who headed the 18-2 effort this season will all graduate this May, and their presence both on and off the field will be noted. Chelsey Talhelm ’13, Steph McDonald ’13 and Maura Hennigan ’13 joined together to captain this memorable season, and were supported by fellow seniors Kristen Zublin ’13, Diana Aulisa ’13, Rachel Cooke ’13, and Dana Venditti ’13.

During Wednesday’s game, the Diplomats looked sharp early, as Talhelm ripped a shot from the top right of the circle to give F&M the early 1-0 advantage just over two minutes in. The Dips entered the second half on top, but Eastern clawed its way back into the game, tying it up at one 12 minutes into the second half. F&M’s offense remained cold and never found its way back into the game.

The Eagles held the advantage offensively, putting together 11 shots on goal, in contrast with F&M’s four. Koep secured the net for the Diplomats in a fine effort, turning away a game high eight shots, yet the sticks were quiet for F&M and the shots were just not there.

With the win, Eastern will continue on in the tournament, and look to further its seven-game winning streak. The Final Four and Championship game will be hosted at Hobart & William Smith College in Geneva, NY.

Looking back on some of the team’s successes throughout the season, and there were many, the centerpeice of all its victories had to be the 4-1 win over Haverford College in the Centennial Conference Championships. Now the season is over, and the team can look back and be proud of their many accomplishments this season, including an 18-1 season record, 18-game winning streak, and a Conference title. However going further into the NCAA playoffs would have been nice, the team has nothing to be disappointed about. This season was a season unlike any other in recent F&M field hockey history.

Questions? Email Jonathan at jpressma@fandm.edu.

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