Nov. 6, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - Top-seeded Richmond and No. 3 Temple will square off at 3:00pm on Saturday in the finals of the 2009 Atlantic 10 Field Hockey Championship after earning semifinal victories on Friday afternoon at chilly Garber Field on the campus of the University of Massachusetts.
In the opening match of the day, UR senior Sara Blythe-Wood scored her league-leading 20th goal of the season on a breakaway 11:19 into overtime to give the Spiders (12-8) a 2-1 victory over 19th ranked and defending champion UMass. Blythe-Wood took a long pass from fellow senior Jess Weidner, got past one defender and then rocketed a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal to send Richmond to the finals for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
"Our tactic in the overtime is I just have to get in behind the defenders, get the ball and do the job," Blythe-Wood said. "I got a few chances and lucky enough on that third chance I could put it away. I don't even remember what happened, I just knew I had to slam it home."
"I knew it was going to be a fight to the end this team we've worked all season long for this moment we got the result and I couldn't be more proud of these girls. I just knew they weren't going to give up. We played with strength and certainly had so many opportunities."
Fourth-seeded UMass (12-9) took a 1-0 lead just 7:33 into the semifinal match when Cher King tipped in a shot off of a corner by Kim Young. The Minutewomen kept the 1-0 lead until the half, but the Spiders seized momentum in the opening minutes of the second half and tied the game just 4:21 into the second period on a corner when junior Dani Pycroft deflected a shot by Blythe-Wood. Richmond had several additional scoring opportunities in the second half but UMass sophomore Alesha Widdall was stellar in goal with eight saves on the afternoon.
In the second semifinal contest of the afternoon, senior Kasey Ruth tallied a pair of goals and goalie Sarah Dalrymple recorded nine saves as third-seeded Temple (9-11) earned a 3-0 victory over No. 2 Saint Joseph's (7-11) to advance to the finals of the A-10 Championship for the first time since 2003.
Ruth's first goal off of a corner came just 6:22 into the contest off an assist from senior Kristen Wanner, while her second goal of the match at the 69:48 mark followed Charise Young's fourth tally of the season.
"It was very important for us to score first and Kasey is such a talented player. I'm so happy that as a senior she was able to enjoy a great game today," said Temple head coach Amanda Janney, who looks to lead the Owls to their first A-10 crown since 1994.
"It will be a tough match tomorrow. Both teams have some excellent athletes and are playing intense hockey so it will be a battle to the final minute," said Janney, whose team avenged a 4-0 loss to Saint Joseph's on Oct. 9.
Junior Jen Wrublesky registered a game-high three shots for the Hawks, who enjoyed an 11-7 advantage in shots in its quest for their first A-10 title since 1995.
Live audio and video streaming of the finals will be available on www.atlantic10.org for $7.95.