Assoc. Sports Editor
Can anyone say, “Déjà vu?”
Last year, it was Milton Hershey graduate Champayne Hess who put Bloomsburg to sleep with an overtime goal. On Saturday, after nearly 20 minutes of extra time, it was junior Katelyn Zapp who gave Bloomsburg (9-6, 5-3 PSAC) another nightmarish ending as Millersville’s field hockey club (15-1, 7-1 PSAC) trumped the Huskies in a 2-1 nail-biter.
Millersville was coming off an ideal start to the week, as the first NCAA rankings of the season deemed them No. 2 in the South Region. Bloomsburg was originally fourth; after this weekend’s loss, though, they’ve dipped down to sixth. The Marauders’ only loss of the season has come from undefeated Shippensburg, which is sitting comfortably on top of the NCAA polls and outdueled Millersville in an overtime matchup in early October, 1-0.
But the Black and Gold are looking to change that.
They surely aided their cause to supersede the top ranking with their win over the Huskies on Saturday, outshooting their opponents 17-7 and almost tripling their amount of penalty corners, 15-6.
However, the game looked to be in Bloomsburg’s favor, as Millersville was held not only scoreless but also shotless in the first half. Additionally, it took the Huskies a mere two and a half minutes to jump out into an early lead, hoping to land themselves in a less peculiar situation than they were in a year ago.
As goalkeeper Lauren Sotzin screwed her head on tighter and her offense hammered themselves into gear, Millersville looked to nail a few scores of their own.
It may have taken them until deep into the second half, but they did indeed slap in a goal by junior Alicia Youtz. Assisted by Rachel Dickinson, the equalizer was off a penalty corner that nuzzled itself closer and closer to the center of the field and, eventually, the back of the net.
Dickinson, second on the team in assists with 6 and third in points with 18, has had her presence felt throughout the season. Youtz, a forward from Dauphin County, snagged her fifth goal of the season.
Bloomsburg’s goalie, Megan Eppley, had her work cut out for her in the latter half, as Millersville’s offense came alive and forced her to save five of six shots on goal. Eppley further flexed her goalkeeping muscles when she was faced off against Dickinson yet again. This time, it was on a penalty shot – with 19 seconds left to play.
And so the first 15-minute overtime (OT) came.
During the first OT, Eppley saved 7 more Marauder tries, while on the other end, Lauren Sotzin, who is allowing a miniscule 0.51 goals per game, continued her staunch defensive play with two more saves. Despite the one-sided shot total, both teams had two penalty corner opportunities and were tied at the end of 75 minutes.
It took over 89 minutes, after which more nail shavings were littered around the bleachers than peanut shells, to settle the intense competition. Meanwhile, it took only 25 seconds for Zapp to score her seventh goal of the season after substituting for Hess, who is the only Lady Marauder who has piled more goals during the season.
With Millersville sailing high and mighty at the No. 2 ranking and 15-win mark, which is the highest ever regular season number and only two shy of the school’s total wins record, they have now clinched a PSAC Tournament berth. With only two more regular season games to play, the Marauders have their eyes set on redemption over Shippensburg to strip their No. 1 spot.
Before they get to the PSAC Tournament in November, though, they have a home game against Kutztown on Tuesday and then an away match against Indiana University of Pa. on Saturday.