|Saint Joseph's College||Montclair State|
Montclair, N.J. – Freshman forward Libby Pomerleau scored with 16:58 remaining in the second half for the only goal of the game as Saint Joseph’s College edged #10 Montclair State, 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship at Sprague Field on Wednesday evening.
Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Baker stopped eight shots for her eighth shutout of the year as the Monks, making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, advance to Saturday’s second round against #12 Skidmore College at Tufts University.
Junior goalkeeper Kaitlin Maguire made four saves for Montclair State, which ended its season at 16-6. The Red Hawks were making their sixth overall appearance in the NCAAs and first since 2013.
Pomerleau, the hero for SJC in the GNAC Championship Game last week, scored her team-leading 16th goal of the season snapping the scoreless tie. The freshman fired a shot in close on the left side that was stopped by Maguire. The carom came back to Pomerleau, who tucked the ball inside the right post for the only score of the game.
Saint Joseph’s was held without a shot in the first half and were put on the defensive early. Montclair got two great looks in the first three minutes. Amber Haslett ripped a shot from the top of the circle that was kicked away by Baker, who then denied Megan Roeloffs 10 seconds later on an attempt from the right side.
The Monks eventually flipped the field and got some solid opportunities but could not manage any substantial shots. Montclair State regained control and got a trio of looks inside the last 10 minutes of the half. Haslett’s shot was blocked at 24:13 and Baker made a save a minute later before the biggest play of the game with 9:09 to go. Kaitlyn Struss flipped a ball from in close that got past Baker and appeared headed in. However, Kayla Veilleux was there to knock the ball away and keep the game scoreless.
In the second half, Saint Joseph’s got things going offensively. Pomerleau ran on to a looping ball inside the circle and got off a shot that Maguire kicked away. She would get two more chances just shy of 20 minutes remaining but each was saved by Maguire.
After the goal, Montclair turned up the offensive pressure on its end and got several chances to tie the game. Baker made a save against Camille Maimone and three other attempts went just wide of the cage. Baker would get two more stops, including a point-blank attempt from three yards out with 1:29 remaining.
The Red Hawks would get one final chance, driving in toward the circle with the clock ticking toward the end. MSU tried to feed a pass in front however the ball rolled right through and the final whistle sounded.
Montclair State outshot the Monks, 17-5 and had an 8-3 edge in penalty corners.