Posted by Katie Peverada
With a 4-0 win over Vassar on Wednesday, the Skidmore College field hockey team will return to the Liberty League tournament final where they will face William Smith.
Skidmore scored under two minutes into the game and it would prove to be the game-winner. Captain Pauline Searles '15 had a beautiful carry down the baseline, forcing her way to the net where she fed Sam Skott '15 near the left post.
Skott was quick to give credit to Searles for setting up the goal.
"I took Pauline's great pass, I just happened to pop by the goalie at the right time," Skott said.
The first half quickly turned into a goal-tending clinic, with both Brelis and Haley McDougall '15 coming up big for their teams.
McDougall had five saves on the day, but the most important came just 1:23 into the game when she had a point-blank save on a Vassar shot. Not only did the score remain tied but the Thoroughbreds moved the ball up the field quickly to set up Skott's game-winner. McDougall came up big again with time winding down in the first half when she fought off a Vassar screen and made a save with her left leg to send the Thoroughbreds into halftime with a lead.
Skidmore came out strong in the second half, and Searles sent the ball to the high-far post for a 2-0 lead. About 20 minutes later, Krista Lamoreaux '17 found the back of the net with a hard low shot from the box to make it 3-0. Jenn Hanks '16 put an exclamation point on the victory when she lofted the ball past Brelis for the final goal of the game.
Skidmore dominated the game offensively, outshooting Vassar 28-7.
Skidmore was able to generate several offensive opportunities off of transitions. Dani DeGregory '16 had several nice runs down wing, nearly scoring at the 19:00 mark of the first half when she beat the Vassar defense on the right side, cut in and dove to get a shot off on the backhand. Brelis, though, was able to make one of her 17 saves.
The Thoroughbreds held a 15-4 penalty corner advantage in the game.
Defensively, Skidmore never let Vassar gain any serious momentum as they had trouble even breaking into the offensive third of the field.
Lamoreaux and Sam Revera '15 played a huge role in manning the middle of the field for the Thoroughbreds, coming up with several huge stops and quickly sending DeGregory and Skott on counterattacks. Hanks and Annie Weis '14 stood tall all game long, both coming up with key stops to crush any momentum Vassar was gaining. Five minutes in to the second half, Vassar was able to draw McDougall out of the net and postmark a ball for the back of the net, but Hanks came out of nowhere to dive to her right and keep the ball out of the net with a defensive save and preserve the 2-0 score. Around the 22:00 mark Weis was able to shutdown the Vassar offensive and immediately send Skidmore the other way.
The Thoroughbred victory was extra-sweet, as it was coach Beth Hallenbeck's 200th at Skidmore. Hallenbeck's career mark of 270-135 ranks 15th all-time among Division III coaches. Additionally, the win avenged a 2-1 loss to Vassar earlier in the year.
The 1 p.m. home game on Saturday will be a rematch of the 2011 championship, a game Skidmore won 2-1 over William Smith.