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NCAA Dream Ends For Field Hockey

(Posted November 13, 2004)

Grace McCluskey scored Juniata\'s lone goal in its NCAA Tournament match against Cortland State.

Middlebury, Vt. ? The most successful season in Juniata College field hockey history came to an end in the NCAA round of 16 as Juniata dropped an overtime contest 2-1 to Cortland State in Middlebury, Vt. Saturday afternoon. Juniata, which was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance, finishes the season with a record of 14-5. Cortland State improves to 16-2 with the win, and will play host Middlebury in the Regional Championship tomorrow afternoon.

Despite taking an early lead, and controlling play throughout the match, the Eagles could not maintain the lead as Cortland scored a goal early in the second half, and then tallied the game-winner just 4:01 into overtime. Judith Slopnick scored the winner off an assist from Kelli Johnson, which was one of just 12 shots on the match for the Red Dragons.

Juniata jumped out early with a goal just 3:47 into the contest. Grace McCluskey (West Perry/Elliotsburg) found the back of the cage as her low shot from the edge of the arc bounced into the net off Cortland goalkeeper Jessica Anderson. The Red Dragons looked to tie the game at the 28:40 mark but a diving save from Melonie Sappe (Dallas/Shavertown) denied a high shot by Johnson.


Cortland was able to get the equalizer 3:39 into the second half as Courtney Ryder tipped in a shot with a feed from Johnson. Juniata continued to pressure in search of its second goal but Anderson denied a pair of Juniata attempts to regain the lead in the next five minutes, stopping both of Kim Wagner?s (Middletown/Middletown) scoring chances. The Eagles kept coming, but Anderson kept maintained the lead, making a pair of stops from the ground after a scramble at the 9:30 mark. Neither team was able to take the lead in the game?s final minutes, forcing the contest into overtime.

The Red Dragons then picked up the game winner four minutes into the overtime to end Juniata?s season.

Juniata outshot Cortland 21-12 on the day, while holding a 9-3 edge in penalty corners. Sappe? stopped five shots for Juniata in the match, while the Eagles forced Anderson into 11 saves.

Juniata ends the year one victory shy of matching the program-record for wins in a season, but the team?s four losses are the fewest an Eagle field hockey squad has had since 1991 team finished 8-2-1. Juniata won a program-best six Commonwealth Conference matches during the regular season, and placed six players on the Commonwealth All-Conference Team.

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