By KEVIN BOILARD
Shortly after the Mary Washington field hockey team thumped Eastern on Saturday, Nov. 10, Lynchburg College and Messiah College squared off on UMW’s Battlegrounds turf for a chance to take on the Eagles in the NCAA Regional Final. Thanks to a shutdown defensive performance, the Lynchburg Hornets topped Messiah, 2-0.
The Hornets opened up the scoring at the 15:30 mark. The goal came off the stick of senior midfielder Shelly Milks, who finished the season with 33 points.
However, the one-goal lead did not provide Lynchburg with much comfort, as the Messiah offense pushed to even the score. The Hornets’ defense responded to the challenge, cutting each of Messiah’s scoring chances short.
When the Messiah Falcons located a rare lapse in the Hornets’ defense, Lynchburg goalkeeper Hannah Myers was there to bail her team out. Myers only faced four shots the entire game, but she effectively preserved Lynchburg’s first-round shutout by saving each one.
With the two teams only separated by one goal in the second half, Milks found the score sheet yet again—this time for an assist. Milks set up her teammate, senior forward Ashley Nelson, on a penalty corner, which gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
With a much more comfortable lead after Nelson’s goal, the Hornets hung on for their 19th victory of the season. The Falcons, who have been runners-up in the NCAA final for two of the past three seasons, finished the 2012 season with an 18-4 overall record.
According to Lynchburg’s official athletics website, there were 599 in attendance for the Lynchburg-Messiah 1 p.m. match-up at the Battlegrounds. which was 151 more than the Mary Washington-Eastern match-up at 10 a.m.