COLORADO SPRINGS, C.O. - Play resumed today for day three of the Women's National Championships at American University in Washington, D.C. Well rested from Sunday's off day, athletes took the field ready and raring. Hard fought and exciting battles, found both New Jersey and California moving up one spot in rankings and New England dropping to last position.
Evenly matched New Jersey and Pennsylvania found scoring difficult in the first half. Although New Jersey doubled their shots on goal over Pennsylvania, it appeared the teams would enter halftime 0-0. However, thirty seconds before the whistle marked the end of the first half, New Jersey's Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, NJ) gathered a loose ball in front of the cage and immediately pushed it past Pennsylanvia's keeper.
Ahead 1-0 going into the second, it was New Jersey again who found the back of the net first. This time, Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ) fired a shot on goal and teammate Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, PA) was there to tip it in.
Up two goals to nil, Pennsylvania regrouped and put two consecutive goals past New Jersey's keeper, temporarily making the match tied at 2-2. Pennsylvania's two goals came from the same play on a corner opportunity within minutes of eachother. Shannon Taylor (La Mesa, CA) received the ball from Kayla Bashore-Smedley (Shoemakersville, PA) and ripped a shot from the top of left of the circle to the right corner of the cage. An unsettled and unsatisified New Jersey came fighting back. Katie Evans (Newtown Square, PA) found Sharkey, who again was on post to tip the ball in. New Jersey defeated Pennsylvania, 3-2 and shifted to a second place ranking.
It was clear California stepped on the field with a winning mindset. In the first sixty seconds of play, they were on the boards and up 1-0 over New England. Torrie Albini (Escondido, CA) fired a rocket from the top of the circle that would make any goalkeeper uneasy of what's to come.
A penalty corner awarded to New England tied up the match at 1-1 when a shot from Lauren Pfeiffer (Mt. Laurel, NJ) deflected off of the goalies pads and into the net. California immediately came back and took the lead once again, with Rebecca Spengler (Lititz, PA) redirecting a shot from teammate Kelly Dostal (Louisville, KY).
An all out battle, both New England and California secured one more goal before the half. New England's Corrine Mcconville (Lehighton, PA) went one-on-one with the goalie and came out on top. California's Maren Ford shot across the cage got deflected into goal by a New England defender. California led New England 3-2 going into the second half.
Not quite as eventful and exciting as the first half, only one goal was scored before the end of the match. Rachelle Comeau (Los Gatos, CA) followed through with a shot fired by Albini and secured the lead and the win for California, 4-2. The win placed California ahead of New England in rankings.
Another close match that ended in a draw, was the final match of the day between South and Mid Atlantic. A scoreless battle until the final five seconds in the first half, Melanie Brill capitalized on a penalty corner and put South ahead 1-0. Statistically, the South dominated doubling Mid Atlantics corner opportunities and shots on goal.
Mimicing game play in the first half, the second half was scoreless until the final minutes of play. Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, PA) beat a South defender and took a quick shot at the top of the circle. O'Donnell's goal tied the match at 1-1.
Tomorrow will be another exciting day on Jacobs Field as New England take on the South at 2:30pm, Mid Atlantic will battle it out with New Jersey at 4:15pm and California will try to maintain their feisty attitudes against Pennsylvania at 6:00pm.
For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Meunier, USA Field Hockey Communications Manager, at email@example.com, or at (719) 866-4365. Additional information regarding USA Field Hockey can be found online by visiting www.usafieldhockey.com.