ST CHARLES, Mo. — Newberry looked to take the Consolation Game in the 2017 ECAC Division II Field Hockey Tournament from the Bellarmine Knights on Sunday, Nov. 5. This heated double overtime battle came down to the wire as the Knights slithered by with a 3-2 win.
The Wolves entered this matchup hungry for a win over this team who had taken the previous two regular season games from them. From the first whistle, Newberry never let up knowing what this game meant as the offseason loomed toward them.
The pack moved together leaning on one another on both ends of the field with eight different Wolves leading the charge; Kristyna Oyola, Farai Kawonde, Megan Eisenhardt, Mariah Lee, Brady Keeler, Olivia Fraunfelter, Chantel Gauthier, Dominique Milian and Haley Smith.
Newberry goalkeeper, Dakota Elzy and the pack showcased their defensive prowess in the opening minutes as they faced three shots and two penalty corners. The Knights began to look comfortable, assuming possession would remain theirs.
A hot-handed Oyola, who scored in Friday’s tournament game for the Wolves, scored on an assist by Eisenhardt in the 11th minute. Kawonde was the recipient of Oyola’s penalty corner, but saw her shot go wide beyond the frame. This miss allowed Eisenhardt to send the ball to Oyola as she worked her way from the right side to the front of the goal to finish at the post.
Later in the period, Bellarmine regained control for four minutes notching two corners and two shots that were blocked by a pack of Wolves. Mandi Isom subbed in for the Knights and found her way to the goal scoring on an unassisted 40 yard run between Newberry defenders. With five minutes left in the first period, the Knights found a string of luck getting a goal on a ball from the right wing over Elzy’s head into the cage. The team’s entered halftime with Bellarmine ahead of Newberry 2-1.
Coming out of the half, the Wolves amped up their aggression controlling possession and pace of play. In the opening minutes they nabbed three penalty corners, allowing them to send off two shots. Newberry was later allotted another corner in the 47th minute getting off a shot before calling a timeout.
Bellarmine took charge after Newberry’s timeout launching several shots from penalty corners but saw them blocked and saved by Elzy, Oyola and Milian. These numerous defensive stops forced the Knights to take a timeout to regroup in the 60th minute. The timeout proved costly as Keeler found some space to flick the ball over the keeper in front of the cage to the left post, lodging it in the top right corner of the goal to tie the game at 2-2 with nine minutes to go.
Both teams tried to avoid overtime play, launching shots while protecting their goals but were unsuccessful. At the end of regulation, the Wolves totaled 10 shots, seven on goal, garnered nine penalty corners, had four saves, and faced 17 shots. The Knights totaled 17 shots, six on goal, had 13 penalty corners, five saves, and faced 10 shots.
The Wolves came out swinging in the first overtime period sending numerous shots toward the cage, but couldn’t find the back of the goal. Short-handed due to two players receiving yellow cards, the group corralled together not allowing Bellarmine to score on their five-shot attempts. Newberry totaled five shots, one penalty corner and two saves.
Sending this game into double overtime, the Wolves were relentless hovering over every shot attempt and leading teammates to their favorite spots to score from. However, the Knights slipped a goal via Merit Harris to take the game 3-2.
“This was an amazing game. We did awesome, I thought we dominated in the second half and both overtime periods.”Head Coach Hannah Dave said, “Where this team has come since my first year here at Newberry and where they were this preseason is amazing.”
The Wolves finished the 2017-2018 season 6-13 overall, 3-7 in the conference, named No. 4 seed in the conference tournament, and tied the program record for most wins in a season.