Field hockey falls to Rowan in first round of NCAA tourney

Chances are field hockey is getting awfully tired of seeing Rowan University in the NCAA tournament. For the second consecutive season, Rowan has ended the Ephs season – this year in a hard fought 3-2 game.

Rowan scored three first half goals and held off a furious rally late in the game to defeat Williams 3-2 on Saturday in the first round of the tournament.

Leading 2-1 with 10 minutes left in the first half, disaster struck for the Ephs. Star goalie Monelle Quevillon ’03, who had allowed only eleven goals all season to go along with nine shutouts, re-aggravated a knee injury that she sustained on Friday at practice. With Quevillon out, Rowan took control of the game.

Rowan scored two goals in the final minute of the half off backup goalie Jen Steinberg ’05 to take a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Beth Raleigh scored both Rowan goals, with the game-winner scored at 3:58.

“Rowan is a very, very good team and they took us out of our normal passing game and that caused us to panic a little,” said head coach Alix Rorke. “They really turned it on as the game went on and they also went to the ball better than we did.”

Williams struck first early in the first when Tori Scott ’04, the leading Eph scorer tallied her eleventh assist when she fed Leanne McNamara ’03 near the net. After a goal by Rowan’s Michelle Thornton tied the score, Scott took a pass from Moonjoo Han ’03 and beat Rowan goalie Lesley Snock to put the Ephs back in front.

Shortly after Scott’s goal, Quevillon went down and Steinberg, a first year who had not stepped on the field all season, entered the game.

Despite giving up the two goals late in the half, Steinberg played a phenomenal game, making six saves and keeping the game close throughout the second half.

“Jen Steinberg in her first varsity game was awesome for us,” said Rorke.

Her stellar second half play gave the Ephs an opportunity late in the game to tie the score. However, Molly Jennings ’04 shot from the top of the circle with seconds remaining was deflected inches wide of the post by Snock (two saves).

Although it ended in disappointment, the Ephs finish the season with a strong record of 12-5, and a NESCAC title that seemed implausible earlier after a disappointing 3-3 start to the season. Scott (12 goals, 11 assists) and Stef Noering ’03 (9 goals, 10 assists), were the team’s leading scorers.