Late Goal Puts No. 19 UNE into NCAA Field Hockey Second Round

Late Goal Puts No. 19 UNE into NCAA Field Hockey Second Round

INTERACTIVE BRACKET

BIDDEFORD, Maine – After falling behind on an early second-half goal, No.19 University of New England scored twice in the final 14 minutes to overcome Saint Joseph's College (Maine) for a 2-1 victory in the First Round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship on Wednesday evening (Nov. 8) at the Big Blue Turf.

Winners of 11 straight, the nationally-ranked Nor'easters (18-4) move on to the Second Round of the tournament and will play No.2 Middlebury College at Kohn Field in Vermont on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.
It was the third outing in-a-row that UNE faced a deficit down the stretch of regulation and flipped it.
 
For the second time in as many games, Brooke Lemerise (Bartlett, N.H.) provided the difference for UNE. With just 1:35 left, she batted a bouncing ball into the right corner -- the far post as the defense shifted to cover the left. Vonde Saunders (Center Conway, N.H.) registered the assist with a redirection in the middle, after Brenna Sicard (Sunderland, Mass.) sent a dangerous ball into the circle from the right wing.
 
Saunders accounted for the equalizer in the 57th minute, tracking down a cross from the right sideline and lacing a reverse strike just inside the left post. Kersey Boulay (Liberty, Maine) assisted on the tally, which was the team-leading 16th of the season for Saunders.
 
After Lemerise's goal, the Nor'easters ran out the clock to advance to the first weekend of the championship for a fourth consecutive year. It will be the second time in those trips that UNE heads to face Middlebury; the Panthers defeated Big Blue back in 2014 on the way to the semifinals. The two-time national champions are making their 18th appearance in the tournament.
 
UNE is now 9-2 all-time against Saint Joseph's. Never before in the previous 10 (played from 2003-12) had either squad picked up a result after trailing in a contest.
 
The Monks end 2017 with a record of 15-6, matching the highest win total in program history.
 
St. Joe's didn't waste much of the second period (37th minute) before gaining the edge on the scoreboard, after the 1st half went without any scoring. Kayla Kelly (York, Maine) carried possession into the circle and a dropped a pass to Libby Pomerleau (Limerick, Maine), who turned and drove her second touch into the left side. It was Pomerleau's 22nd marker of the year.
 
Due to strong defensive efforts on both sides, quality chances were at a premium, with just seven of the combined 20 total shots (UNE 13-7) finding the target in the game. The respective goalies -- Liz Sargent (South Burlington, Vt.) of UNE, and Megan Baker (Gorham, Maine) for the Monks -- each made two saves.
 
The Nor'easters wrapped up the night with a 13-1 advantage in penalty corners.
 
The two-goal threshold proved to be the deciding factor -- SJC remained winless (0-5) when conceding two or more scores, while UNE has won 89 percent (17-2) of the times it has found the back of the net at least twice.
 
Out of the eight first-round hosts on Wednesday, five needed a comeback to survive and extend their seasons. In all, seven of the teams competing on their home fields were victorious.
 
Joining UNE at Middlebury on Saturday will be No.14 University of Rochester and Husson University (which pulled an upset of No. 5 Babson College, 1-0). The winners will meet at 1 p.m. on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.

Game recap courtesy of the University of New England Sports Information Department.

 

2017 NCAA DIVISION III FIELD HOCKEY TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE 

NCAA First Round – Wednesday, Nov. 8
Hosted by University of New England

No. 19 University of New England def. St. Joseph's (Maine), 2-1 | BOX

NCAA Second Round – Saturday, Nov. 11
Hosted by Middlebury

No. 19 University of New England at No. 2 Middlebury, 11 a.m.
No. 14 Rochester vs. Husson, 2 p.m.

 

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