Shippensburg University’s field hockey team’s 2023 season came to an end Friday evening with a 2-1 loss to Kutztown in the NCAA Division II Semifinals in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Raiders controlled the match throughout, but a late penalty stroke goal for Kutztown proved to be the difference.
The Raiders got off to a strong start, with junior Tess Jedeloo scoring her 20th goal of the season on the team’s first shot of the game to give Shippensburg a 1-0 lead at the eight-minute mark. They had a chance to add on later in the frame via penalty corner, but a shot by sophomore Plinke Hillen was just wide.
Kutztown got on the board late in the first quarter, as Bears forward Mackenzie Kile’s shot was saved by Shippensburg redshirt sophomore Emma Albee, but Jessica Traynor was able to score off the ricochet to tie the game up at one, which remained the score at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter saw both teams fail to convert on scoring opportunities, with Kutztown going scoreless on a pair of penalty corners early in the period. Shippensburg had its own chance to score off a penalty corner, but a shot by freshman Hannah White was saved by Kutztown goalie Mia Kepler.
The Raiders controlled possession throughout the third quarter but unable to convert on any of their three shots, including a shot from sophomore Agus Garibaldi off a penalty corner that was saved by Kepler. The match remained 1-1 entering the fourth quarter.
Both teams played aggressively in the fourth quarter, with Kutztown having four shots in the first four minutes of the frame, but all four went wide. The Raiders followed this with a great scoring opportunity but had six shots in a 30-second span all miss, with four going wide and two saved by Kepler.
The true turning point of the match came with 2:09 left, when Kile and Albee had a collision as Kile was attempting to make a shot. The officials called a penalty stroke, saying Albee interfered with the shot. Kile converted the penalty shot to put Kutztown on top 2-1. The Raiders were unable to get a shot off the rest of the way, and the match ended with Kutztown advancing to the national championship game.
Shippensburg outshot Kutztown 17-13 on the match, including eight shots on goal compared to just four for the Bears. Kepler was able to save seven shots, while Albee had just two saves. The Raiders had five penalty corners, one more than Kutztown, but neither team was able to convert any.
Shippensburg ends the season with a 15-5 record, and while this season was its sixth NCAA Final Four appearance in the last seven seasons, it ends in truly heartbreaking fashion.