Day three concludes at the Women's National Championships

May 25, 2011, 12:43 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, C.O. – Yesterday wrapped up day four at American University for the Women’s National Championships. It was another exciting afternoon, with American’s best talent proving their selection to this prestigious tournament.

New England and the South had a nail-biting performance with only one goal separating the South’s victory over New England. A win for the South, kept them leading the standing boards in first place. Amy Tran-Swenson (Norfolk, VA), one of the best goalies in the world, had a shut out performance over California and assisted Pennsylvania to their second win of the tournament.

Today will serve as a rest day for the athletes, with play resuming tomorrow for the final two matches of the tournament. Following the Championship match on Friday, selected athletes will be given a spot on the National Team Roster and chosen to represent the United States in international competitions.

New England took the field first, instantly putting high pressure on the South. New England’s aggressive style of play kept the South in the backfield for much of the first half. Jackie Kintzer (Chapel Hill, NC) made crucial saves for the South, keeping the score at 0-0 going into halftime.

The South stepped on the field in the second half looking like a new team. Statistically, they dominated New England, earning nine penalty corners to New England’s one and outshooting New England ten to three. The South struggled to convert a string of corner opportunities, including a shot from Melanie Brill (Fleetwood, PA) and Jesse Gey (Greenlane, PA) coming inches from the goal. In the fifty-seventh minute, another penalty corner put South on the boards. Gey got the rebound and one-timed a shot into the net.

With three minutes remaining, New England made a risky decision to pull their keeper and add an additional field player. A penalty corner gave the team and the fans hope that New England could tie up the match, but South’s defense held strong under pressure. South beat New England, 1-0 and the win secured their place first position on the standing boards.

New Jersey faced Mid Atlantic for the second match of the afternoon. An incredible effort by Tara Puffenberger (Dallas, PA) put Mid Atlantic up 1-0 over New Jersey. Puffenberger’s goal would be the only goal scored in the first half.

The second half saw more action, with New Jersey scoring three consecutive goals within minutes of each other and taking the lead over Mid Atlantic 3-1. Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, PA) added two quick goals for New Jersey from a deflection and a rebound. Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, NJ) found teammate Katie Evans (Newtown Square, PA) who was waiting patiently in front of the cage ready to knock one in.

With time running out, Paige Selenski (Shavertown, PA) found a scoring opportunity on a penalty corner awarded to Mid Atlantic. Selenski made quick and strong moves past three defenders and struck a reverse sweep hit over Jersey’s keeper. New Jersey found the back of the net one more time before the end of the match. Twenty seconds remained when Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, PA) added her fourth goal of the tournament with a field goal shot directly on net. New Jersey secured a win over Mid Atlantic, 4-2.

The final match was played between California and Pennsylvania. California had difficulty getting anything past world-class goalkeeper Amy Tran-Swensen. Torrie Albini (Escondido, CA) received a pass from her teammate and finished it off with a goal. Jaime Montgomery (Lewisburg, PA) added a second goal for Pennsylvania, redirecting a pass in between California’s keepers legs.

California had multiple scoring opportunities in the first ten minutes of the second half, but Swensen held strong, making key saves that would lead to her shutout. Shannon Taylor (Le Mesa, CA) added one more goal for Pennsylvania with a straight and direct shot from the top of the circle. Taylor had an outstanding performance, assisting with the first two goals and then finishing the match off with one of her own.

Play will resume on Thursday, May 26. Due to the chance of inclement weather, the times of the matches on both Thursday and Friday have been rescheduled. The matches for the final two days of the tournament will now be as follows:

Thursday, May 26
10.00am               Mid Atl vs. NE
11.45am               South v PA 
1.30pm                 NJ v CA 

Friday, May 27
11.00am               5 v 6 
1.00pm                 3 v 4 
3.00pm                 1 v 2 (Final)

For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Meunier, USA Field Hockey Communications Manager, at ameunier@usafieldhockey.com, or at (719) 866-4365. Additional information regarding USA Field Hockey can be found online by visiting www.usafieldhockey.com.

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