In any sport a national title is the ultimate goal for a team and when that title is within reach the team will do whatever it takes to capture the almighty trophy.
The Shippensburg University field hockey team reached that goal and captured the trophy on Sunday afternoon when it beat LIU Post in dramatic fashion 2–1 in Norfolk, Va. at L.R. Hill Sports Complex.
Coming into the game, the Pioneers were the favorite because of their perfect 21–0 record and stellar offensive play. LIU was outscoring opponents by more than three goals coming into the game.
The Raiders were fresh off a dominant victory of reigning PSAC champion Millersville University and had two of the nation’s dominant scorers in Bre White and Lauren Taylor.
Both played crucial roles in the Raiders’ victory.
The Raiders jumped out to an early lead when Taylor Bender found the back of the cage after Lucinda Kauffman sent the ball into play off an injector pass which Bender fired into the goal.
The goal is Bender’s 10th of the season and her 20th as a Raider.
Bender finished the day with two shots to accompany her lone goal.
The Pioneers did not go down without a fight. Dani Crouse scored with just three minutes left in regulation to keep the Pioneers’ hopes of a national title alive.
Crouse corralled a pass that was sent from the far right part of the field and fired a shot that made it past SU’s goalie Carenna Neely.
The goal was the only blemish on the senior goalkeeper’s stat sheet during the title game, Neely finished the day with four saves.
Regulation ended in a 1–1 tie but it did not take long for the Raiders to score the game-winning goal.
White made history when she capitalized on a penalty stroke five and half minutes into the first overtime, solidifying the Raiders’ national title.
White stepped up to the spot and shot the ball into the right side of the cage which squeezed past the Pioneers’ goalie, the SU bench erupted with cheers and ran to congratulate the senior forward as she collapsed from excitement in front of the goal.
The goal is White’s 15th of the 2013 season and her 67th as a Raider as she was named to the All-Tournament Team. Neely, Katie Shoop and Ari Saytar also received All-Tournament Team honors as well.
With the victory, the Raiders finish their magical season with a record of 20–1. Their sole loss came from MU in the PSAC championship game.
The victory marks the first-ever NCAA national title captured by any sport in SU history.
The Raiders did capture the AIAW Division III Championship national title in 1979 under head coach Jane Goss.
Winning the title seemed to be the only suitable ending to such a magical run that the Raiders put together.