By WES HOST
Like the preceding games against Eastern University in the second round and against Wesley in the CAC Championship, the win didn’t come easily.
The Hornets were first to score six minutes into the game. Sophomore Katie Kline found the net after getting her stick on a rebound from a penalty corner. Senior captain Lisa Charney stuffed the first attempt, but the second attempt crossed the plane, sending the Lynchburg fans into a frenzy.
Seven minutes and three penalty corners later, Charney scored a goal from seven yards out with junior Caitlin Baker assist. Charney has been nothing short of excellent this season. The captain has scored 25 goals in 21 games.
Despite her heroics, Charney was decommissioned two minutes later after an errant pass hit her in the face. She was sprawled on the ground but was able to get off the field under her own power. Fellow senior Amy Stevens replaced her.
Two minutes later the Eagles recovered the loss and put themselves on top without their leader. Senior midfielder Florence George scored off a penalty corner.
The Eagles defeated Lynchburg College earlier this season 3-2. The Hornets at the time were seventh in the nation and the victory was a monster feat for the Eagles. The win helped propel them to a near perfect season.
When they played them this time, “the stakes were much higher,” said assistant coach Kim Tomlin. “A loss in the regular season doesn’t mean anything, but during the postseason it’s sudden death.”
The second half began, and after a long scoring drought, Lynchburg made a statement that they were not going to go quietly.
At the 56:44 mark, senior attack Lindsay Leonard converted a Johanna Agustin assist for the equalizer. Momentum seemed to be in Lynchburg’s favor as the Eagles had to play two players down after freshman forward Jenna Steele and sophomore defender Amy Abernathy received green and yellow cards respectively. The green card resulted in a two-minute penalty and the yellow resulted in a five minute penalty where the players would have to sit out.
Steele was able to reenter the game just in time for Baker’s game winning goal at the 60:48 mark. It was the only shot for Baker who had been used as a roll player, blocking shots and dishing assists.
Lynchburg kept attacking in the last ten minutes. Their best opportunity was off a penalty corner by sophomore Katie Kline, but the bombarding defense cleared the ball without any damage. They fought one player down for the last three minutes after Abernathy was booked again. With the clock winding down, the Eagles possessed the ball, the horn sounded UMW advanced to the final four in women’s Division III Field Hockey. The last time they got that far was in 1993 where they when runners up to Courtland State in the championship.
“They always need a little something to get their butt into gear,” Tomlin said, regarding the team’s ability to respond.
Besides Lynchburg, every game this postseason including matchups against St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Wesley College, Eastern University, have started out with the opposition scoring first. Each time they tied the score within 17 minutes.
“We like to work under pressure,” added Charney.
The squad will venture up to Geneva, N.Y. to take on Montclair State on Saturday, Nov. 17th. The winner will take on the winner of Depauw University and Tufts University on Sunday, Nov. 18th for the NCAA Championship.