Huskies down Riverhawks, Capture NCAA Field Hockey Title

By: Joe Arleth

On a chilly Sunday, the Bloomsburg Huskies caught fire.

It took the team over 82 minutes to record the three goals needed to reach the championship game. On Sunday however, they accomplished the same feat in a matter of moments.

“It was amazing to come out Sunday and score three goals in the first like six minutes,” Allison Ziants said, “That doesn’t happen often and to do it in the championship game just shows that when we set our mind to coming out and playing strong we can do it against anyone.”

It was fitting that three became the magic number for the Huskies this week.  It was their third game against Shippensburg and Maggey Bloskey’s third goal that lifted Bloomsburg to the final.  Then there were the three goals that took a strangle hold on the championship game’s momentum.  Finally, the Huskies won their third straight national championship.

Oh, and of course there was that nasty weather, which may have felt like three degrees for those in attendance.

“I give even more props to the people who came on Sunday because the weather was miserable,” said Samantha Kropa (who ironically enough wears the number 3). “Of course playing, it’s not bad, but sitting in the cold on metal bleachers for over 70 minutes must have been a struggle.”

The weather was really the only struggle the Huskies faced Sunday as the team seemed to truely rise to the occasion, playing one of their best games when the situation called for it most.

Leading the Huskies was a familiar face.  After being shutout by Shippensburg days earlier, Jamie Vanartsdalen struck for three goals and an assist.  While Shippensburg opted to focus solely on Vanartsdalen and force her teammates to win the game, the Riverhawks challenged the Bloomsburg star.

“UMass didn’t really put that kind of pressure on me, so it was a little easier for me to execute,” Vanartsdalen said.

The Riverhawks made a slight rally late in the first half, cutting the Bloomsburg lead to a mere one goal heading into the break.

The minor meltdown might have been exactly what Coach Jan Hutchinson needed however, as she reminded her players to remain focused on their play in the second half.

Just 36 seconds after halftime, Ashley Miller scored to give Bloomsburg all the breathing room they would need.

The second half played out less like a championship bout and more like a celebration countdown.

“To be completely honest, I didn’t even hear the whistle blow,” Kropa said, “I just watched the clock wind down, threw my stick and jumped on my teammates.”

It would be tough to envision a better clinching game than the one the Huskies enjoyed.  Bloomsburg left the drama and tension behind in the semifinal game, and with a 6-2 victory the team was truely able to savor a moment that will stick with them for a long time.

“It was amazing to see the stands that full, hear everyone yelling, all the cameras flashing after the game, all the hugs, sprinting over to the bleachers and doing the ‘bloom what’ chant for the fans,” said Miller, “And to do all of this on your home turf, you couldnt ask for anything more.  It gave me chills.”

And not the kind of chills that freezing temperatures and gusting winds bring.  These were the chills that accompany only a truely perfect moment.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience many athletes can only dream of,” said Miller.

Great things come in threes.

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