BOSTON, MA – Freshman forward Katherine Bant (Johnstown, NY) netted a pair of second half goals, including the game-winner to lead the fourth-seeded Anna Maria College field hockey team over host top-seeded Wheelock College, 3-2, this evening in the semifinals of the New England Collegiate Conference Championship Tournament at Winsor Field in Boston. The AMCATS improve to 8-11 on the season and will take on Regis College (MA), a 1-0 winner over visiting Becker College in the other semifinal match, on Saturday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. in Weston, MA on the campus of Regis. The Wildcats fall to 5-12 to end their season.
Anna Maria erased a 2-0 deficit, scoring three unanswered goals to come away with the victory.
Bant supplied all the scoring in the second half for the AMCATS with the eventual game-winner coming on a shot, taken just inside the circle off a penalty corner situation, that traveled untouched into the right corner of the cage for her league-leading 13th goal of the season and a 3-2 lead at 45:41 of the period. Bant had tied the match less than 10 minutes earlier. She found an opening from the left side of the circle and scored from five yards out just 1:22 into the second session to knot the match at 2-2.
Wheelock took advantage of a pair of penalty corner situations early in the match, scoring on consecutive corners. Junior forward Despina Savvoulides (Norwalk, CT) sent the entry pass to classmate Chelsey Ballard (Mansfield, MA), who collected the ball just inside the circle on the left side and returned a cross to Savvoulides for a shot fired just inside the right post at the 4:17 mark of the first period. The pair repeated the exact same play on the following corner with the same result just 90 seconds later as Savvoulides notched her school-record tying 13th marker of the season to match her own standard set last year.
The Wildcats looked to have the momentum for most of the first half with Anna Maria unable to solve Wildcats sophomore keeper Michelle Greene (Mansfield, MA), who stopped the first four shots she faced, but the AMCATS were awarded a penalty stroke with just 2:51 left to play in the opening stanza. Senior midfielder Katie Schebel (Ludlow, MA) took advantage and lifted her free shot past the Wheelock keeper into the left side of the cage to breathe some life into the Anna Maria squad and pull it to within 2-1.
The AMCATS defense was outstanding in the second half, fending off nine of a game-high 17 penalty corners from the Wildcats to an overall total of 12 for Anna Maria.
Freshman goalie Marita Steinmetz (Grafton, MA) stopped four shots on the night for the AMCATS, who are playing their first season in the NECC, while Greene made six saves for the Wildcats.
Senior Alanna Pihl (Franconia, NH) played in her 70th career match for Wheelock to tie the school record held by Julie Kilcoyne (2007-10), while classmate Kylie Hefford (Exeter, NH) played in her 69th and final game to tie for third on the Wildcats all-time list.