AMHERST, Mass.— Top-seeded Saint Joseph’s defeated No. 2 Massachusetts, 3-2 in double overtime, to win the 2017 Atlantic 10 Conference Championship. It's the first A-10 Field Hockey title for SJU since 1995, which was also the last time a team other than UMass or Richmond claimed the conference crown.
The 17th-ranked Hawks (18-3) earn the A-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. SJU’s 18 wins are a school record. The NCAA selection show will be Sunday night at 10:00 pm ET and can be viewed on NCAA.com.
Championship Most Outstanding Player Emily Peters tipped in a shot by Anna Willocks in the 95th minute of double overtime to give the Hawks the one-goal win. The goal erased a furious rally by the Minutewomen in which they scored twice in the final three minutes of regulation to force the overtime. It was also the 27th career assist for Willocks, setting a Saint Joseph’s record.
Down 2-0 with 2:20 to play in regulation, Lucy Cooper scored on a deflection at the left post following a Sarah Hawkshaw shot. UMass (13-8) kept the pressure on, and just over a minute later tied the game on a direct shot off of a corner, with assists from Cooper and Mirra Stillman, sending the game to overtime.
The Massachusetts push came late in regulation and in the first overtime, where the Minutewomen led in shots 12-8. UMass also had seven penalty corners in the second half to help fuel the comeback. The Hawks controlled the offensive push in the first held and in the second overtime, and led 22-13 in shots for the game.
Scoreless through the first 41 minutes, Jordan Olenginski broke the tie with a goal on the heels of a penalty corner. Kathrin Bentz’s feed set up Olenginski, who also assisted on SJU’s second goal to earn a spot on the All-Championship team. That second goal was a deflection by Emily Henry at 58:43 that put the Hawks up 2-0.
Emily Hazard made eight saves for UMass in the cage, while Victoria Kammerinke stopped seven shots for Saint Joseph’s. Willocks and Cooper each led the teams in shots with five.
Joining Peters and Olenginski on the All-Championship team were Willocks and Quinn Maguire from Saint Joseph’s, and Hazard, Sophie de Jonge, Grace Hogan and Shauna Rankin-Byrne from UMass. Also honored were VCU’s Maite Strum and Spencer Tossone and Florentine Beelaerts van Blokland of Richmond.