Lexington, Ky. – A thrilling conference tournament opener was eventually seized in double overtime by the Sewanee Tigers on a game-winning penalty stroke over the Transylvania field hockey team, 2-1 on Friday afternoon at Pat Deacon Stadium in the 2019 Southern Athletic Association quarterfinal match.
Squaring off in the first match of a four-match tournament weekend, No. 5 Sewanee and No. 4 Transylvania met up for the third time on the year and the second time in conference play battling for the right to move on to face the No. 1 seed Centre in Saturday's 2:00 p.m. semifinal.
After the Pioneers won a closely-contested regular-season matchup, Friday's playoff match featured much of the same style and even play.
The Pioneers earned their first penalty corner six minutes into the second quarter for their first major opportunity of the afternoon. The setup led into a deflected ball in the front of the goal which was eventually claimed by Lilly Kramer, but the junior's shot went wide and the game remained scoreless. Harper Zeitz challenged the Sewanee goalkeeper with minutes left in the first half but the Tigers' Barbara Canty came up with one of her seven saves on the afternoon to maintain a tie game.
The first shot of the second half was also the first goal of the day; the Tigers took advantage of a quick restart and Sewanee's Buckley Norman looped around a pair of defenders to line up a clean look at the goal, scoring from the right angle to give Sewanee a 1-0 lead.
The Pioneers equalized the contest later on in the third quarter as Kramer took advantage of another deflected ball in front of the goal, and slotted in the tying goal for a 1-1 score heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter featured a myriad of tantalizing opportunities for both teams to take the lead. Kramer levied a shot two minutes into the fourth quarter that required a defensive save while the Tigers nearly went ahead with 5:42 remaining before Pioneer goalkeeper Sidney Varney came up with a clutch save.
With four minutes to go, Brianna McCulley nearly put away two shots in a row, but the second shot hit the post and the contest remained tied. Transylvania earned one final penalty corner in the fourth quarter with 90 seconds to go, but Makenna Saward's shot was saved by Canty.
In the first overtime, the Pioneers made a collection of runs downfield, earning two more penalty corners, but both opportunities came up just short. Sewanee delivered two key shots late, but one was saved by Varney and the other just missed the goal, leading the way to a second overtime.
The Pioneers sent two shots near goal to begin the second overtime but Sewanee held firm. In the fourth minute of the second overtime, Alex Hornsby sprang loose and burst ahead of the Transylvania defense, forcing a late foul which was deemed a penalty stroke. Hornsby put away the penalty stroke on the left corner top shelf, giving Sewanee the sudden victory.
Varney picked up the loss in goal for the Pioneers, registering four saves on the day. Sewanee earned seven penalty corners to five by the Pioneers while Transylvania outshot Sewanee 16-14.
The Pioneers conclude their 2019 campaign, the first under head coach Katie Hastings, with a record of 3-13 and 1-3 in the SAA, raising their win total from the 2018 season.
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