In a rematch of last year’s PSAC final, won by ESU, the Warriors (14-3-3 overall) struck late, in the 81st minute, and used their senior goalie, reigning PSAC Athlete of the Year Jules Harris, to prevent any shots from the Golden Bears (16-3-1) from finding the back of the net. The net-minder finished with eight saves.
It has always come down to the wire over the last few years when
these two teams meet.
Nine of the last 10 games have been decided by one goal, with ESU winning the last four. The same 1-0 score was seen in the game during the regular season back on Oct. 18.
It was the third time in the last four years that East Stroudsburg has eliminated Kutztown from the PSAC tournament.
Since 2014, KU is 2-5 against ESU, but 60-14-3 against all other competition in that time span.
The teams were near identical in scoring chances, with the Warriors holding an 11-10 shots advantage. KU had an 8-6 edge in shots on goal, however. ESU held an 8-2 corner kicks advantage.
The Kutztown defense was sparked by sophomore Shea Conway, who made her first start since starting in the midfield last season against Western Washington in the NCAA Final Four.
Head coach Erik Burstein was forced to use all healthy bodies, as senior defender Morgan Staley went down with an injury in the middle of the first half, and did not return. Freshman Anna Hull replaced her.
After a scoreless first half, Burstein adjusted the formation and used a three-line back of Hull, Kristina Miller and Erica Monte Carlo, with Alyssa Ryan dropping back in support when she wasn’t pushing forward to give the offense an outlet.
With KU holding much of the possession the first 25:00 of the second half, the tide shifted towards ESU towards the end.
With a little over 10:00 remaining, East Stroudsburg’s Haley Skove unleashed a long throw from the sideline in front of her team’s bench. The ball hit the turf and took a high bounce that went over the head of a KU defender and was poked in by Jules Sicker at the six-yard box passed sophomore goalie Jenna Bracken for the game-winning goal.
Bracken ended with five saves.
Kutztown will now await its fate in the NCAA Atlantic Regional tournament. It was voted first when the final poll came out yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 1. West Chester, who defeated Gannon 2-1 in the other PSAC semifinal was second, with West Virginia Wesleyan in third. East Stroudsburg, in search of its fourth straight PSAC title, was fourth.
The live NCAA Selection Show will be held on Monday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. on www.NCAA.com. First Round games will begin next Friday, Nov. 10, with the Second Round slated for that Sunday, Nov. 12.