WASHINGTON, D.C.- For the second straight year, the Juniata and Catholic field hockey teams played to an extra period. Much like last year's regular season finale, the result favored Juniata as Sarah Bilheimer (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) scored the game-winner in a 2-1 Eagle victory.
The win improves JC's record to 11-5 and 6-1 in the Landmark Conference. By virtue of a tiebreaker with Elizabethtown, Juniata secures the #2 seed in the Landmark Tournament and will host the Cardinals next Wednesday.
The Cardinals scored first in the 19th minute. Lane Adams' shot was saved by Eagles keeper Kylie Edwards (Danville, Pa./Danville) but the rebound came to Rachel Day, who put it back past Edwards to give Catholic the 1-0 lead.
Juniata quickly tied it up in the opening minute of the second half. The Eagles were granted a penalty corner, which was taken by Bilheimer. Cassie Clarence (Coopersburg, Pa./Southern Lehigh) took the pass and shot toward the cage where the ball went in and the contest was tied at 1-all.
The Cardinals outshot the Eagles 11-6 in the second half but stellar play by Edwards in the goal kept Catholic at bay. Shots from Ellen Thorburn and Madalyn Dennis in the 63rd minute were both turned away by Edwards.
For the third consecutive game in the series, the two teams played to overtime. Unlike the last two occasions, it did not take a second overtime to determine a winner. 2:43 into the extra frame, Katie Alexander (Mifflinburg, Pa./Mifflinburg) hit a hard shot that deflected off Bilheimer's stick and into the cage for the game-winning goal.
Head coach Caroline Gillich felt the team played a good game overall. She gave credit to her defense and in particular Alex Stroud (Ellicott City, MD./Centennial), Kelsey Leibelsperger (Fleetwood, Pa./Fleetwood), and Edwards.
Overall, the Cardinals outshot the Eagles 16-9 but both teams were even in shots on goal with seven. Catholic also led in penalty corners, 9-6.
Edwards finished with a season-high 13 saves in the cage. Analisa Scott came up with five saves for Catholic.
The two teams will meet again at Knox Stadium in the Landmark Tournament semifinals. Game time is set for 7 p.m.