(Posted November 7, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat (or lack thereof), nor gloom of night shall keep this field hockey team from its appointed rounds. That could have been Juniata College's motto for the day, as the Eagles survived a little wind-driven sleet and a few flakes of snow, dark overcast skies, and a persistent Johns Hopkins squad on its way to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays, in NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship First Round action on Winton Hill Field in Huntingdon, Pa. Juniata (20-2) now advances to the second round, where it will face Ursinus College (18-2) on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1:30 p.m. at the regional hosted by Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. Senior Heather Hassinger (Middleburg, Pa./Middleburg) scored the game-winner on a penalty corner shot with 4:12 left in regulation, breaking a 1-1 tie and lifting Juniata to the win. Senior Kim Wagner (Middletown, Pa./Middletown) was credited with the assist. "It wasn't a blazing shot, but it wasn't soft - it had a pace to it, and sometimes that throws off goalies because they're expecting something harder to be coming at them,\" said Juniata head coach Caroline Gillich. "That's something we've been working on with Heather - to blast it if you seen an opening or a corner, but if not just send the ball in with a pace. We've got a lot of players with great stick skills who will be in front of the net, and they can tip it, redirect it, or get a rebound to score. "It was the perfect ball for that moment: Hopkins was getting tight, and was not expecting that kind of a shot,\" said Gillich. Johns Hopkins jumped into an early lead, thanks to Leah Dudley's (Westborough, Mass./Westborough) goal just 7:02 into the game. Dudley's shot arced high over the head of Juniata goalie Abby Funk (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg), who was unable to get a stick or glove on the ball and bat it away before it rolled over the Eagle goal line. Juniata knotted the game at 1-1 later in the first half, when Leslie Stern (Felton, Pa./Red Lion) got her stick on the ball in the midst of a crowd right in front of the Hopkins goal, and smacked a shot past Blue Jay goalie Sophia Tieu (Cupertino, Calif./Cupertino) with 15:30 left in the opening frame. Wagner made the well-placed pass to Stern through considerable traffic, earning her first assist of the afternoon in the process. "We played great for 70 minutes today, and that's about the first time this year we've done that,\" said Gillich. "The girls knew they had to bring it, and they did; they played their best ball today, and that's all I've been asking of them. They didn't let anything affect them: the cold, the weather, the calls on the field - they just went out and played - and had fun.\" Juniata outshot the Blue Jays 18-9, including a 13-7 advantage in shots on goal. Tieu finished with a game-high 10 saves in the Johns Hopkins goal, with Dudley getting credit for a defensive save. Funk logged six saves in the Juniata cage. Both Juniata and Johns Hopkins had seven penalty corner opportunities. -30-

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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.