In a showdown between the two top field hockey teams in Division II, Bloomsburg showed why they won seven of the last nine NCAA championships, defeating homestanding West Chester 4-1 on a warm and windy day at Vonnie Gros Field this afternoon.
The Huskies (4-0, 1-0 PSAC East) entered the match ranked first in the nation after winning their opening three games, including a 1-0 shutout at home against national semifinalist and defending PSAC champion Shippensburg.
The Golden Rams (2-1, 0-1 PSAC East), playing their third ever match as a Division II program after competing in Division I for most of their existence, entered the match ranked second, on the heels of a 4-3 overtime upset of defending national champion Massachusetts-Lowell.
By halftime, the Huskies knocked the Rams down to earth, as a pair of goals towards the end of the first half put Bloomsburg in control of the match.
Jenna DiSabatino opened the scoring in the 29th minute when she took a feed from Brooke Simonovich for her third goal of the season. Amanda Riley scored four minute later off an Amber Aulenbach pass to make it 2-0 Bloomsburg.
Riley buried her second goal of the game – and third of the season – in the 40th minute when she took a feed from Jenna DiSabatino in front of the cage.
For the ensuing four minutes after Riley’s second goal, the Rams were awarded four penalty corners. While they had several good scoring chances, Huskies goalie Meghan Hollenbach and the defenders in front of here were up to the task.
Alisha Moran finally put West Chester on the board after the fourth penalty corner. Nancy Stehman controlled the rebound off the penalty corner and fed Moran, who found a wide open space in the back of the cage to the left of Hollenbach in the 44th minute to cut the Bloomsburg lead to 3-1.
After Karly Herb was booked with a green card in the 54th minute, Cassie DiSabatino was awarded a penalty stroke, which she blasted to the right of Rams goalie Kristin Arnold for a Bloomsburg insurance goal.
Simonovich was hit with a yellow card in the 58th minute, giving West Chester a one player advantage for five minutes. They were not able to capitalize as Bloomsburg continued to dominate possession for the majority of the match.
Bloomsburg outshot West Chester 16-13 for the match, including a 9-3 advantage in the first half. The Rams attempted 10 penalty corners, compared to nine for the Huskies.
Hollenbach recorded six saves in the cage for Bloomsburg, while Arnold made eight save for West Chester.
NOTES: Bloomsburg midfielder Amber Aulenbach left the match after being struck in the right ear in the 42nd minute. She appeared to have suffered a minor concussion, but otherwise left the field under her own power. … In addition to Bloomsburg (#1) and West Chester (#2), five other PSAC schools made are ranked in this week’s National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II poll. Shippensburg (#4), Indiana (Pa.) (#5), Millersville (#6), Kutztown (#7) and East Stroudsburg (#10) also joined the Huskies and Golden Rams in the top 10. Defending national champion UMass-Lowell fell to #3. … In other PSAC scores, Kutztown defeated Millersville 2-1, IUP edged Mansfield 3-2, C.W. Post edged East Stroudsburg 2-1 in overtime, Mercyhurst edged Seton Hill 3-2 in overtime and Shippensburg blew out Slippery Rock 5-0. … The first weekend of cross-over play begins Friday, with PSAC East school traveling west (Friday’s opponent listed first, then Saturday’s): Bloomsburg travels to Mercyhurst and Slippery Rock, C.W. Post travels to Shippensburg and Mansfield, East Stroudsburg travels to Mansfield and Shippensburg, Kutztown travels to Seton Hill and IUP, Millersville travels to Slippery Rock and Mercyhurst, and West Chester travels to IUP and Seton Hill.