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Marauders aim to shine in LouisVILLE

Ryan Woerner
Sports Editor

The Marauders women’s field hockey team has hit the road to Louisville, Ky. for the NCAA Division II semifinals. After topping Shippensburg in a double overtime thriller in the quarterfinals, the Marauders have advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive year. After missing their chance at advancing to the NCAA DII championship last season, the Marauders are out for revenge.

Katelyn Zapp celebrates her early goal in the quarterfinal win over Shippensburg.
Katelyn Zapp celebrates her early goal in the quarterfinal win over Shippensburg.

It seems only fitting that the team that stands between the Marauders and a championship birth is none other than West Chester University. West Chester, the Atlantic Region’s No. 1 seed, earned a first round bye, jumping them to the semifinals where they are set to face off against the Marauders. The last time the two teams met was on Nov. 15, when a 3-0 victory for the Golden Rams earned them the title of PSAC Champions. Now, the Marauders have earned the chance at capturing a title of their own.

Despite dropping the last meeting between the two teams, the Marauders may have energy and morale on their side. The Golden Rams have not played a game since the PSAC victory–a 19 day break by the time Thursday’s game rolls around. The Marauders are fresh off of the win over Shippensburg just over a week ago.

Katelyn Zapp (16), Kayla Bixler (17) and Hannah Whitman (24) celebrate a goal in the season opener.
Katelyn Zapp (16), Kayla Bixler (17) and Hannah Whitman (24) celebrate a goal in the season opener.

There is no shortage of game-changers on this year’s roster. In fact, the Marauders were pegged as the No. 1 seed in preseason polling due to their formidable group of returning players. Eight of the 11 starters for the 2014 team also started in the NCAA Semifinal against Shippensburg in 2013.

Defender Rachel Dickinson was named the PSAC’s Defesive Player of the Year, another honor to add to the list of career accomplishments that is beginning to read more like a novel than an awards list. The senior has been named to the All-PSAC First Team three times, two different All-America First Teams, and was the PSAC-East Rookie of the Year her freshman year, to name a few.

Other Marauders joining Dickinson on the 2014 All-PSAC First Team are defender Sarah Bomberger and goalkeeper Lauren Sotzin, each of whom have earned the honor twice. Second-Team selections for 2014 are Marauders leading scorer Katelyn Zapp, defender Megan Donlan, and consistent overtime hero Champayne Hess.

The Marauders historic 2014 season could not be complete without head coach Shelly Behrens, who was named the PSAC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season. Behrens has helped guide her team to a 51-13 overall record during those three years.

The Marauders have had yet another historic season–one which is not yet in the books. The semifinal game in Louisville starts at 1 p.m. on Thursday and will be streamed live on NCAA.com.