|Gracie McClatchy||Brianna Witt||Claire McAllister|
SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of Scranton field hockey team (11-7, 6-1 Landmark) clinched the No. 1 seed in the Landmark Conference tournament with a 2-1 win over the Juniata Eagles (9-9, 4-3 Landmark) on Saturday afternoon at Weiss Field in Scranton.
This marks the first time since joining the Landmark Conference that the Royals have been the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
Scranton will host the No. 4 seed in the Landmark Conference semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Weiss Field.
Senior Brianna Witt (Sloatsburg, N.Y./Suffern) opened the scoring for the Royals with 2:25 to play in the first quarter as she was able to beat a defender and backhanded a shot past Juniata goalie Nicole Piccioni to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. The goal was Witt's fourth of the season. The Eagles registered six penalty corners within the first three plus minutes of the second quarter and a rebound from Catherine Lanigan on the sixth and final penalty corner tied the game at one apiece in the 19th minute. The Royals nearly took the lead back with under two minutes left in the half, but Piccioni turned away a shot from sophomore Allie Benadon (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough). Head coach Colleen Moyer's squad held a slight 6-5 shot advantage in the opening half.
Scranton took the lead for good with 9:59 left in the third quarter as Witt's shot was deflected in front by senior Gracie McClatchy (Havertown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) who found the back of the net with her team-leading 10th goal of the season. Juniata had a chance to tie the game in the 44th minute as Lanigan got behind the defense, but senior goalie Claire McAllister (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh) denied her opportunity and kept it a 2-1 game in favor of the Royals.
The Royals held a 9-6 shot advantage in the contest led by four shots from McClatchy and two shots apiece from Benadon and Witt. McAllister had five saves in net for Scranton, while Piccioni recorded four saves for the Eagles. Juniata held a close 8-7 edge in penalty corners on the afternoon.
Prior to the game, the University of Scranton field hockey team honored the team's six seniors: McAllister, McClatchy, Witt, Nicolette Keale (Wall Township, N.J./Wall Township), Lauren Earnshaw (Audubon, Pa./Methacton) and Caroline Mullen (Chester Springs, Pa./Villa Maria Academy).
Please check back to athletics.scranton.edu later on for more details on Scranton's opponent in the Landmark Conference semifinals on Wednesday.