By CHRISTIAN ZAPATERO
On a windy Saturday afternoon, the University of Mary Washington women’s field hockey team strolled onto the artificial turf field at the Battlegrounds to face the Wesley’s women’s field hockey team for the Capital Athletic Conference championship.
The electricity running through the atmosphere from both fan bases foreshadowed the magnitude of this particular championship game. In this automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament, both teams were full and pure determination, especially Wesley, who lost to the Eagles in the regular season 4-1.
It didn’t take long for this high-stakes game to get exciting. At the 5:28 minute mark, Wesley forward Danielle Tearl scored an unassisted goal to give her team a 1-0 lead over the Eagles. The early goal punched UMW fans in the gut, but senior midfielder Lisa Charney quickly got the Eagles back into the game.
UMW was awarded a penalty stroke 22:14 into of the game. Charney stepped up to the mark, placed her stick on the ground and dug it in back-and-forth to create a small ditch so she could put loft on the ball. With ease the team captain and 2012 NFHCA Division III Senior Game participant, smoothly placed the ball into the top left corner. This tied the game up and sent the Eagles fans into a roar.
When asked about her mentality going into the the penalty shot, Charney said, “I normally always go there. I typically look to where I’m not going to go to try to psych out the goalie, and go the other way.”
The rest of the half became a physical match of push and shove. Opportunities arose for both sides, but none came to fruition. The score would remain 1-1 going into the second half.
The second half was the opposite of the first half. At the 44 minute mark, Eagles’ junior forward Caitlin Baker scored off a penalty corner from senior midfielder Florence George.
Approximately 12 minutes later, Wesley midfielder Madison Leone scored to tie up the game at 2-2. With 9:08 minutes left, both Charney and sophomore defender Amy Abernathy, who scored on a freshmen forward Jenna Steele assist, put the game away giving the Eagles a 4-2 victory and the CAC championship title. The Eagles led in shots, 20-7, and in penalty corners, 10-3.
“It’s definitely very thrilling…coming here and getting to experience winning a championship with a team I absolutely love and enjoy playing with is exhilarating,” Charney said.
On Monday, Nov. 5th Mary Washington became the third seed in the NCAA tournament, giving them a first-round bye on Wednesday. They will host the winner of Franklin & Marshall College vs. Eastern University on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with the winner advancing to Sunday. Franklin & Marshall defeated Eastern in the regular season 3-1.