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April 16, 2024 3:52 pm

Trojans fall in title game to Converse in OT

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Playing in their second-straight overtime match, the Trojans fell 2-1 in the extra period against Converse on Nov. 20 in the South Atlantic Conference tournament championship game.

With the loss, the University of Mount Olive field hockey team concluded the season with a 14-4 overall record after appearing in its first-ever SAC Championship match. They shattered their single-season win total and multiple offensive and defensive records throughout the season. Meanwhile, the Valkyries improved to 17-2 this season and repeat as the conference championships, winning both title matches on their home turf.

In the first quarter, Converse scored in the opening minutes, but the goal was reversed following a call from the officials. The Valkyries totaled two more shots in the first, while the Trojans were awarded a penalty corner late but were unable to find an opening.

Converse continued to pressure offensively in the second with three shots over seven minutes of action, but the UMO defense held up. Mount Olive eventually got on the counterattack with senior Railyn King netting the opening goal off an assist from freshman Nikki Bos at the 23:10 mark. In the final minutes of the second, the Valkyries had five penalty corners before eventually breaking through in the final 30 seconds on a goal by sophomore Luisa Fasold to tie the game 1-1.

The third quarter featured limited action with only two total shots taken despite both sides being shown a green card. Converse sustained its offensive push in the fourth, earning three penalty corners and two shots on goal, which were saved. Both teams were unable to break the deadlock with the game heading to overtime.

In the overtime period, the Valkyries wasted little time and found the game-winning goal from sophomore Catalina Pistaccio at the far post off a pass from teammate Lotte Kanters to win the title.

Sophomore goalkeeper Alanna Barrett matched a season-high with five saves on 16 shots faced in nearly 63 minutes between the posts.

In the Nov. 19 semifinals, behind a game-winning goal from sophomore Morgan Paterson, the Trojans advanced to the championship match with a 2-1 double-overtime win over Newberry.

With the win, the Trojans extended their winning streak to 14-straight games, the longest in NCAA Division II Field Hockey, and improved to 14-2 in division play.

In the overtime periods, Newberry tallied a penalty corner and a pair of shots but was unable to break the tie. Just 51 seconds into double-overtime, Bos delivered a stellar through ball to Paterson, who beat the goalkeeper one-on-one to complete the 2-1 comeback win and move on to the championship match.

The Trojans controlled possession in the opening 10-plus minutes of the first quarter after tallying four shots and two penalty corners. The Wolves countered in the closing minute and earned a pair of penalty corners before scoring on a goal by freshman Lieke Varenkamp to lead 1-0. Mount Olive had zero shots in the second quarter and defended three penalty corners, as Newberry held a 1-0 lead at halftime.

In the third, UMO was awarded a penalty stroke at the 40:35-mark, which was saved following a shot from Paterson to keep the Wolves in the lead. On a penalty corner in the opening minutes of the fourth, junior Alicia Lovejoy scored off a deflection from an initial shot from sophomore Annefleur Moerkerken to tie the game 1-1.

Barrett played the entire match between the posts and collected three saves on 11 shots attempted in over 70 minutes of action.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics