NCAA SEMIFINAL: #4 LIU Post Edges #5 Stonehill, 3-2

Junior Lauren Giordano (right) is congratulated after scoring her first of two goals against LIU Post tonight. (PHOTO BY Michael DeZarn)

Sawyer's first career goal with 9:44 remaining sends Pioneers to Championship 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (December 4, 2014) –  Second-seeded LIU Post, ranked fourth in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) poll, claimed a 3-2 triumph over North Region top-seed and No. 5-ranked Stonehill College in an NCAA Division II National Semifinal at Trager Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville as part of the 2014 NCAA Division II Fall Championships Festival, hosted by Bellarmine University and the Louisville Sports Commission, this evening.

LIU Post (18-3, 10-1 NE-10) advances to Saturday's national championship game where it will face No. 2-ranked Millersville (Pa.) University at Trager Stadium at 1:30 p.m. Millersville, seeded second in the South Region, defeated top-seeded and No. 1-ranked West Chester (Pa.) University 2-1 in overtime in today's opening semifinal. Stonehill closes out its season with a 17-4 record overall, including 9-2 in the Northeast-10, having captured its second NE-10 Tournament Championship, earning its sixth NCAA Tournament bid and an appearance in the national semifinals for the fourth time.

Sophomore Abi Sawyer's (Wakefield, England) first career goal with 9:44 remaining in regulation proved to be the difference as LIU Post withstood a pair of comebacks from Stonehill to advance to the national championship for the second straight year. Senior Lyn-Marie Wilson (Bridgetown, Barbados) led the Pioneers with a goal and assist, while senior Stephanie Ruhle (Wanaque, New Jersey/Lakeland Regional) added a goal.

Sophomore Ericka Parks (Nesconset, New York/Smithtown East) preserved the win with one save in the LIU Post goal. The Pioneers held a 12-6 advantage in shots and an 8-6 edge for penalty corners. Senior Elizabeth Genovese (Street, Maryland/North Harford) finished with six saves in the Stonehill cage.

Junior Lauren Giordano (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) scored both goals for Stonehill. Senior All-American Emily Sideris (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) and junior All-American Erika Kelly (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) each dished out assists.

Senior All-American Emily Sideris assisted on the Skyhawks first goal. (PHOTO BY Michael DeZarn)

Sawyer knocked in a loose ball into the top corner of the goal from the top of the circle after a deflected pass from the right side with 9:44 left in regulation. The goal came moments after freshman Grace Ilias (Oakville, Ontario/Saltfleet District) cleared a Kelly shot off the line to prevent Stonehill from taking its first lead of the night at the other end. The Pioneers were able to control possession the rest of the way, preventing the Skyhawks from clearing the defensive end in the closing minutes to seal the victory.

LIU Post took its first lead of the night following another defensive clearance in the early stages as junior Cindy Russell (Sound Beach, New York/Rocky Point) deflected a shot from Sideris wide of the cage in the 12th minute. Wilson put LIU Post in front 20:01 into the contest when she got a stick to a drive from the top of the circle by postgrad Dani Crouse (Westville, South Africa) off her own penalty corner and deflected it past Genovese for her 13th goal of the season.

Stonehill equalized just 7:15 later with Giordano's first goal of the day when she knocked the ball past Parks from waist high off a drive from Sideris popped up in front of the LIU Post goaltender. The Pioneers regained the lead 5:59 into the second half when Ruhle tapped a pass from Wilson into the goal at the left post for her tenth goal of the year, her third against Stonehill.

Stonehill leveled the match once again less than three minutes later with Giordano's second of the game (13th of the season) off a pass from Kelly from the top of the circle at 43:38. Kelly followed with two shots on goal, saved by Parks at 46:10 and Ilais at 50:48, leading up to the winning goal from Sawyer.

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