Shippensburg’s field hockey team completed its undefeated season on Sunday by capturing the 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Championship for the fourth time in the past five years.
SU defeated West Chester 3-0 on a cold, grey afternoon at Millersville University’s Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium, achieving its first undefeated season in the NCAA era.
The Raiders have now won 11 straight NCAA Tournament games since 2016 and become the first team to win a national championship with an undefeated record since Massachusetts Lowell in 2010.
Shippensburg got out to a blistering start and had a 3-0 lead eight minutes into the match.
Senior Jenna Sluymer got the scoring started less than 90 seconds into the match, rocketing in her own rebound to give SU a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Athlete of the Year, Jazmin Petrantonio blasted in a corner entry from graduate Caitlyn Wink to make it 2-0.
Less than two minutes after that, freshman Valu Paul dribbled through multiple defenders and smacked in a diving reverse shot to create the final 3-0 scoring margin.
SU head coach Tara Zollinger was pleased with her team’s intensity in the game’s opening moments.
“In those opening moments of the game, we were playing Ship hockey, we were passing, moving, we’ve got our eye on the ball and we’re finishing in the circle,” Zollinger said. “So the first goal itself absolutely gave us the energy in the opening moments.”
Freshman goalkeeper Lindsay Tripodo made three saves in the shutout including two in the second period. Freshman Merel Hoekstra made a great defensive save in the fourth period to preserve the shutout.
Sunday marked the first time that the Golden Rams have lost in the NCAA Division II Championship Game. They were previously 3-0.
The Raiders roster is made up of 12 seniors, including players who made their debut in either the 2017 or 2018 season.
“To see who they have grown into and the relationships that they built, I know that at the end of the day, they’re going to have each other now matter what,” Zollinger said of her senior class.
Shippensburg’s seniors combined to post a 68-14 record and win multiple national championships.
“This senior class will always hold a really special place in my heart professionally and personally, and I’m so grateful to be someone in their corner for the rest of their lives, too.”