|Claire McAllister||Nicolette Keale||Lauren Earnshaw|
SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of Scranton field hockey team (5-3) grabbed an early lead and rode a strong defensive effort as head coach Colleen Moyer broke the program record for wins with a 3-0 victory over the Wilkes Colonels (6-4) on Wednesday night at Weiss Field in Scranton.
The win is the 154th victory of her career at Scranton. Moyer is in her 15th season at the helm of the Royals and surpassed Beth Howlett who served as the head coach from 1980-90 and 1994-97.
Wilkes had some pressure late in the first quarter, but senior goalie Claire McAllister (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh) made a couple of saves and senior Lauren Earnshaw (Audubon, Pa./Methacton) tallied a defensive save to keep the game scoreless for the time being. The Royals broke through with just 13 seconds left in the opening period as senior Nicolette Keale (Wall Township, N.J./Wall) took a feed from classmate Brianna Witt (Sloatsburg, N.Y./Suffern) and tucked it in the back of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Earnshaw's four defensive saves on the year are tops in the Landmark Conference.
The Colonels continued to mount pressure in the second quarter, but a strong defensive effort led by Earnshaw, junior Christina Motz (Glenside, Pa./Gwynedd-Mercy Academy) and senior Caroline Mullen (Chester Springs, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) as well as timely saves from McAllister helped keep the shutout alive. Scranton extended the lead to 2-0 with 9:47 left in the quarter as Keale redirected an initial shot from sophomore Allie Benadon (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough at the top of the circle off a penalty corner. Wilkes registered seven penalty corners in the quarter, but was unable to solve McAllister who made an incredible diving stop on a shot by the Colonels' Lauren Shiplett with three minutes to play in the first half.
McAllister had seven saves in the contest en route to her second shutout of the season.
Scranton made it a 3-0 game just over a minute into the fourth quarter as junior Brittany Schumann (Andover, N.J./Newton) sent a pass up the right side and connected with senior Gracie McClatchy (Havertown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) who beat goalie Mya Zak with a shot to the far side of the cage. McClatchy leads the team with four goals on the season.
The Royals held a slight 11-9 shot advantage in the contest including a 6-1 edge in the second half. Benadon, Keale and McClatchy had three shots apiece to pace the hosts.
Scranton opens Landmark Conference play with a semifinal rematch at Catholic on Saturday, Sept. 28. Start time is slated for 5:30 p.m.