The field hockey team made it all the way to the NEC Championship game. Unfortunately, Coach Carli Figlio and the girls fell to Rider University in the championship on Saturday.
The second seeded Hawks faced Quinnipiac University, the third seed, in the semifinal on Friday. The only goal for either team was scored by sophomore Patricia O’Dwyer, who found the back of the net at the 36th minute in the second half on a rebound put-back. It was her 15th goal of the season. The score remained 10 until the final whistle, and the Hawk’s 10 win was good enough to advance to the NEC championship game.
MU’s defense as well as the goalkeeping was solid. Goalkeeper Teresa Mathews recorded seven saves in the victory. Defender Nicole Manziano also recorded a defensive save.
The Hawks and Quinnipiac each won 11 penalty corners while Monmouth led in shots 1612. The first half of the game was quite slow, as Monmouth and Quinnipiac combined for only seven shots. They had a total of 21 shots in the second half.
The victory marked the Hawks 15th win of the season, tying a program record.
Now MU would have to face the number one seed Rider on Saturday, who was 181, at their own field in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. It was the third straight NEC championship game that the Hawks have reached, and was a rematch of the 2010 championship game. Monmouth was still looking for their first NEC Tournament title.
Rider defeated St. Francis in the other semifinal game 20. The championship matchup is what most fans expected to see, the top two seeds squaring off.
Rider got on the board first in the 23rd minute in the first half. The next goal from either team didn’t occur until the 55th minute, when Rider struck again. Now with a 20 deficit with only 15 minutes left in the season, Monmouth was more than determined to turn up their attack. In the 68th minute, Patricia O’Dwyer received a pass from Michelle Pieczynski, which she turned and fired in the back of the night. Despite only a one goal deficit now with two minutes left in the game, Monmouth was unable to put one last goal on the board.
“Rider’s attack was very good. Their forwards and midfielders were phenomenal. We just didn’t execute our chances,” said Coach Figlio.
MU was dominated in shots, 218 and in penalty corner 104. Teresa Mathews had 10 saves for the Hawks.
“Our preseason expectations were high, and we by far had the hardest schedule that we have ever played. We are still extremely happy with what we’ve done this season, and we are graduating some talented individuals,” Coach Figlio explained.
MU leading scorer Michelle Pieczynski was shut down throughout the entire game, despite having a couple of good opportunities to score.
Morganne Firmstone and Alex Carroll were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
“As the season progressed, we played fluid hockey. We improved on keeping possession as well as passing. We grew and bonded as a team,” Coach Figlio stated.
PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography