Senior Lindsey Pinkham forced overtime with his seventh goal of the year after time had expired in regulation. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)
Second-seeded Skyhawks reach second-straight NE-10 final with comeback win
Stonehill (15-5, 9-1 NE-10) advances to tomorrow's NE-10 Championship match where it will face top-seeded and No. 2-ranked UMass Lowell (21-0, 10-0 NE-10) at 2 p.m. The River Hawks advanced to the championship with a 4-2 victory over fifth-seeded Adelphi University (13-9, 6-4 NE-10) in today's first semifinal. Stonehill will be making its fourth appearance in the NE-10 final and second-straight, seeking its first NE-10 tournament title outright after sharing the 2005 crown with UMass Lowell. The River Hawks are making their seventh finals appearance and will be trying for a sixth title tomorrow.
Stonehill claimed the win today in dramatic of fashion with senior Lindsey Pinkham (Skowhegan, Maine/Skowhegan Area) forcing overtime off a corner after time had expired in regulation before junior Kathryn Nelson (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) scored her Conference leading ninth game-winning goal of the year 3:36 into overtime.
Junior Kathryn Nelson scored her third overtime winner of the year and 19th of the season overall. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)
Junior goalkeeper Kim Steiner (Little Falls, N.Y./Little Falls) was incredible in goal for American International as she finished with 17 saves, including 15 after halftime, as Stonehill finished with a 34-10 shots advantage, including 27-4 after the intermission. Classmate Amanda McLean (Branford, Conn./Branford) scored the lone goal for AIC.
Senior Courtney Osier (South Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth) posted three stops to give Stonehill the chance for a comeback. The Skyhawks finished with 18 penalty corners, including 15 after halftime, with the two after time had expired to set up the equalizing goal. The Yellow Jackets totaled ten corners on the day.
AIC struck first just 1:30 into the contest as McLean took a pass from senior Rhonwen Peters (Aquashicola, Pa./Palmerton) and fired a shot that got through Osier and trickled over the goal line for her 19th marker of the year.
Stonehill was denied on two penalty stroke chances before finally breaking through on its 22nd shot of the second half. Steiner stopped a penalty stroke by senior Courtney Foley (Wakefield, Mass./Wakefield) 10:34 into the contest and then saved senior Lauren Gifford's (Goffstown, N.H./Goffstown) stroke 4:32 into the second half.
Steiner saved a shot by Foley on Stonehill's initial corner at the conclusion of the 70-minutes of regulation, then Pinkham equalized when she followed up her second corner as she took a pass from freshman Kelsey Davis (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) and fired in her seventh goal of the year.
Stonehill kept the pressure on in overtime, with Nelson scoring her third overtime winner of the year on the Skyhawks fifth shot of the extra frame 3:36 in. It marks Nelson's team-leading 19th goal of the season, just one shy of the program's single-season record set by former teammate Claire Hourihan in 2008 and also matched a year ago.
Stonehill and UMass Lowell will be meeting for the third time this season and second-straight year in the postseason. The River Hawks, who defeated the Skyhawks 2-1 in the NCAA Division II semifinals last fall, have posted a pair of 4-0 wins over Stonehill this fall. Stonehill has won four straight and 14 of 16 with both of those losses coming to UML.