Despite thrilling win, Pioneers miss out on postseason

Jim McLaughlin
Sports Editor

The Utica College field hockey team ended its season last Saturday in an overtime thriller, beating Hartwick College 3-2.
The Pioneers needed to win their last conference game in order to keep their postseason hopes alive. That being said UC wasted no time getting on the board early as freshman Rylee Meelan put in her own rebound shot to take the lead less than three minutes into the game. The goal by Meelan was the only goal scored in the first half as UC led 1-0.

field hockey
The UC field hockey team brings it together in an earlier game. Saturday’s 3-2 win overtime win over Hartwick was the final game of the season. Photo by Kristen Willson.

UC carried its momentum and motivation into the second half as freshman Rebecca Kauffman redirected a shot from junior Meghan McCormick to give UC a two-goal advantage in the 50th minute. However, the two-goal lead proved to not be enough to secure the win as Hartwick scored two quick goals of their own in a span of three minutes. No more goals were scored during regulation, which brought the game into overtime.

The Pioneers were familiar with overtime as they faced an overtime loss earlier in the season to Nazareth College and were determined to have a different outcome this time around. Both teams were not letting up in overtime as the game went into double overtime to determine a victor.

After letting up two goals to let Hartwick back in the game, UC was finally able to find a way to get the game-winning goal in the back of the net. McCormick fired a shot after a penalty corner, but it was Meelan who was able to redirect her shot and put the ball in the back of the net to secure the victory.

Although the Pioneers came away with the win, the team knew that they let Hartwick back into the game.

“We started off strong until we got our first goal and then we got complacent,” senior Kells Casey said. “We stepped up come overtime and seemed to dominate in both overtimes.”

UC finished the regulars eason with a 4-4 conference record, and although they needed to win their last conference game to be eligible for the conference tournament, it proved to not be enough. The Pioneers needed Washington and Jefferson College to lose on Saturday to move on to the postseason and unfortunately for UC, that did not happen. Even though they did not make it to the postseason UC is still satisfied with the way the season ended.

“It was a very exciting way to end the season,” head coach Sarah Elleman said.
It was unfortunate that UC was not able to advance to the postseason, but the seniors that played their last game for the Pioneers will remember every moment they had over the last four years.

“These past four years have meant everything to me,” senior Colleen Dowling said. “I’ve never been on such a close team that genuinely loves and cares for each other. Many collegiate athletes never get to win a championship and I was fortunate enough to win three. I’ve made memories that will last a lifetime.”

The Pioneers say goodbye to six seniors, but the legacy they leave will last forever. The senior class combined for 57 wins, three Empire 8 Championships, and three NCAA appearances in four seasons.

“The senior class has had a tremendous impact on this team,” Elleman said. “They did so much for us over the past four years and have accomplished a ton.”

The future looks bright for the field hockey team as they have a ton of young talent that grew this season and will continue to grow. Casey says she can’t wait to see the team next year.

“I can’t see what the team accomplishes next year and I’m so proud of the team and its growth this year.”