October 14, 2011

Bird's OT goal lifts Bulldogs over Colonials

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Led by two goals from freshman Rosie Bird (Hamilton, New Zealand), the Bryant University field hockey team overcame a first-half deficit, downing Robert Morris, 2-1, in overtime to earn its first Northeast Conference victory of the season on Friday at Joe Walton Stadium.

With both teams even at a goal apiece, the Bulldogs (7-7, 1-2 NEC) set up for a corner at in the opening minute of the extra session.  After senior Katherine Andrusin (North Andover, Mass.) inserted the ball to the top of the circle, classmate Emily Charpentier (Walpole, Mass.) settled the ball and dropped it for Bird on a give-and-go pass.  The New Zealander then blasted it into the cage for her team-leading 13th strike of the season, edging the Colonials (6-10, 0-3) in dramatic fashion.

Bird, a two-time NEC Rookie of the Week, also had the game's tying marker back in the 42nd minute, scoring on an identical play on a corner from Charpentier and Andrusin.  Bryant had trailed, 1-0, after halftime, but came alive after the break to draw even, and both teams would fight hard but were kept out of the cage for the remainder of the second stanza.

Robert Morris was able to strike first off a penalty corner at 17:36.  Jamie Hartley ripped home her sixth marker of the season, with Taleah Scott picking up the helper on the play.

The Bulldogs had a chance to draw even in the 34th minute after being awarded a penalty corner, but were kept off the board to close out the frame.

The first half saw just one shot attempt for the Bulldogs, as RMU reeled off five, with two on target.  Both teams finished the game with 11 shots each.

After a slow first half, the Bulldogs came out firing after halftime, as Kayleigh Ballantyne (Gorham, Maine) sent one on net two minutes into the second stanza that RMU goalkeeper Erin McKenzie turned aside.  Bryant followed with two straight penalty corners, but was kept out of the cage until Bird broke through in the 42nd minute.

The Bulldogs were led defensively by Megan Hancock (Skowhegan, Maine), who finished with five saves in net to improve to 5-3 on the season.  The sophomore lowered her season goals against average to 2.36 with the victory, while McKenzie finished the afternoon with four saves.

Next up for Bryant will be a trip to Loretto, Pa., where the Bulldogs will look for a weekend sweep in the Keystone State against Saint Francis (PA) on Sunday, with game time set for 1 p.m.

For continuing coverage of Bryant University field hockey, check back at www.bryantbulldogs.com, and be sure to follow the Builldogs on Twitter @BryantAthletics.