Lions’ season ends in third round of NCAA Tourney

After winning its first game in the NCAA Division III Tournament last Friday, the Lions’ field hockey team experienced a 2-1 loss to Messiah College’s Falcons on Saturday, ending the season with a 17-3 record.

The Falcons scored the deciding goal 2:52 into the second half when sophomore forward Nikki Bailey scored off an assist from sophomore forward and midfielder Tiffany Leatherman.

The Lions were able to hold off the Falcons offense for the rest of the game, but they were unable to score on any of the eight shots by their own offense during the second half.

“We all left everything we had out on the field that game,” sophomore midfielder Melissa Buttray said. “I don’t think that anyone played without heart. We were in front of the goal offensively and had opportunities. We just couldn’t finish.”

Messiah’s sophomore midfielder and defender Beth Sandowich scored the first goal on a penalty stroke 14:37 into the game.

Less than two minutes later, Buttray scored the Lions’ only goal as she brought the score to 1-1 off an assist by junior defender Sheri Grondski.

“It didn’t matter to me who scored the goal in the game,” Buttray said. “We worked hard as a team to get the ball up into Messiah’s offensive end and put the ball in the net.”

The College’s senior goalkeeper Erin Mitschke recorded nine saves in her final game, as she faced 14 shots. Messiah’s freshman goalie Ashley Mowery made 11 saves.

“I felt pretty confident,” Mitschke said. “Actually, going into the game, I had a really good feeling about the game. We were all so pumped and excited. We, as seniors, looked and tried to see what we could have done differently and there’s nothing we would have done.”

The game improved the Falcons’ record to 17-4 and allows them to play in the NCAA Division III Semifinals.

On Friday, the Lions improved their record to 17-2 when they defeated Elizabethtown College’s Blue Jays 5-0 in their first game of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Elizabethtown ended its season with a 16-6 record.

Senior forward Jess Berkowitz scored the first goal of the game off an assist by Grondski.

Berkowitz then scored another goal 28:30 into the game, bringing the score to 2-0 before halftime.

Sophomore forward Jenny Lubin scored the Lions’ third goal 7:20 into the second half. This was followed by sophomore forward Katie Reuther’s goal off an assist by sophomore midfielder Kelly Mitchell with 2:20 remaining.

With only 24 seconds left in the game, Berkowitz scored the final goal, her 14th of the season.

Mitschke recorded two saves for the Lions. Blue Jays senior goalkeeper Kristen Callaghan recorded six saves.