Drexel Field Hockey earned a bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 overtime victory against Northeastern in the CAA Tournament.
A goal by sophomore Christina Conrad in the third minute of overtime gave Drexel Field Hockey its first Colonial Athletic Association Championship with a 2-1 victory over Northeastern. Playing on their home turf at Buckley Field in front of a capacity crowd, the Dragons came back from an early 1-0 deficit to claim their first conference title as a member of the CAA and earn an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.
The game-winning goal was set up by a penalty corner in the 73rd minute of play. Senior captain Amanda Fleischut, who claimed the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer honors, set up the game-winning goal by sliding a pass to Conrad who knocked it in to give Drexel (15-6) a win over the second-seeded Huskies.
Northeastern (14-6) put pressure on the Dragons early scoring the game's first goal just over four minutes into the opening half. The Huskies' Crystal Poland sprinted down the left side of the field before dishing a pass to teammate Deirdre Duke, who flicked the ball into the upper netting of the cage.
Both teams continued to spread the field producing solid scoring opportunities inside the circle. Drexel earned an offensive penalty corner with less than five minutes remaining before halftime. Senior Amanda Fleischut fired a shot from the top of the circle, which was also deflected off of Northeastern's defender, before crossing the goal line to tie the score, 1-1. The Huskies held a slim advantage in shots, 6-5, in the first half and had four penalty corners to Drexel's two.
After 35 minutes of scoreless play in the second half, with the help of a defensive save by Kristen Focht in the 63rd minute of play, the Dragons and Huskies entered overtime. Drexel maintained possession off the whistle earning two consecutive penalty corners. On the second attempt, Fleischut faked the shot and passed the ball to Conrad who blasted the ball past opposing goalkeeper Lizzie Priest for the game-winning goal.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jantien Gunter continued to drive the backfield stepping up for a number of key clears and stacks throughout the game. Gunter finished with five saves and now has 116 stops on the season.
In addition to Fleichut’s Most Outstanding Performer honor, Lauren Hibshman, Lindsay McArdle and Jantien Gunter were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Dragons will enter the NCAA Field Hockey Championship for the second time in the program’s history. Drexel earned an at-large bid in 2009. Drexel will learn its tournament fate in the NCAA Tournament Selection Show at 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 6. The Dragons will open play in the 16-team tournament on the weekend of Nov. 10.