Close, but no cigar.
Starting off its brutal schedule for the next two weeks, the Millersville field hockey team took on #3-ranked Bloomsburg on Wednesday only to fall 1-0 in overtime. It was definitely a nail-biter, as the Huskies offense kept Marauder goalie Lauren Sotzin on her toes and the Marauder’s fan-base on the edge of their seats. Sotzin, who negated a personal best 12 shots, gave it her all against the “perennial national champions,” as Shelly Behrens, Millersivlle’s head coach, called them.
“Both goalkeepers were excellent,” Behrens said. “Sotzin did all she could and more.”
After all, following eight-straight shutout periods from Millersville, including the first two of Wednesday’s game, it was only a matter of time before Sotzin finally give up a goal. Unfortunately, that time came 7:15 into O-T.
Throughout the extra period, Bloomsburg had the edge, accumulating 9 shots against Millersville’s 2. This was an oddity in the game as Millersville stuck with their adversary through the first 70 minutes, putting up 13 shots to Bloomsburg’s 16. In the final seconds, the Huskies proved why they’re in the running for another national championship to add on to their 16.
In a matter of seconds, Sotzin was faced with a sudden attack from the Husky offense. A trio of quick shots was fired at her just after the 77th minute of the game. During the intense scramble, Sotzin turned away the first two, but the rebound was attained by Bloomsburg senior Brooke Simonovich. The phrase, “third time’s the charm,” was proven accurate as she scooped the ball up above Sotzin’s shoulder, tacking on Simonovich’s fifth goal of the season and sealing the victory for the Huskies.
After the clock stopped winding down and the score was no longer dead even, Behrens couldn’t bear to look at her team’s reaction.
“[It was] absolutely gut-wrenching for me to see that look in them,” she said. That look, when the players’ shoulders suddenly seem to outweigh their entire bodies, was transferred from Chryst Field to the locker room.
“When they have given and done all they can there’s not too much we can talk about after the match,” Behrens said. “They need time to decompress.”
Luckily enough for some players, they had something else to set their mind’s eye upon as “some had to run to their 6 p.m. classes,” Millersville’s head coach said. For the others, a reminder for important things ahead was in store.
Millersville continues their tough two-week stretch on Saturday as they travel to West Chester (5-1, 2-0 in PSAC East) to take on the defending national champions. After a tight quarrel like they had with Bloomsburg on Wednesday, Behrens focused on keeping her players’ heads up and pointed to their next test.
“First and foremost, they are fine,” the Millersville coach said. “Bloomsburg may have scored the goal, but we won’t be defeated.” Behrens went on to say, “You have to know this team is on a mission, and that was just a game to help us get better to get there.”
As the 5-3 (1-1 in PSAC East) Marauders lay their heartache to rest, they tread on to knock on the second-ranked Golden Rams’ door. Will the bad taste in Millersville’s mouth be an impetus for a win for the underdogs?
Behrens says why not?
“The team knows how to do it,” she said. “It’s just a matter of executing it against the best teams. It will be another great college field hockey game.”