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2014 Division II Field Hockey

Defense turns around Millersville program

Defense wasn’t Millersville University of Pennsylvania’s point of pride when Shelly Behrens took over the field hockey program seven years ago. In fact, finding any points of pride required a deep search.

Millersville was coming off a 4-16 season, during which the Marauders failed to win a single Pennsylvania State Athletic  Conference game and gave up three or more goals in three-fourths of their games. Until 2012, they hadn’t known a winning season in 14 years. But the last three seasons have brought a remarkable transformation, led primarily by an impenetrable defense unrecognizable from the program Behrens inherited.

This year, the Marauders led the nation for the second straight season with 0.61 goals allowed per game. They shut out three nationally ranked opponents, and their two PSAC losses — to No. 2 West Chester and No. 3 Shippensburg — were the only matches in which Millersburg allowed multiple goals.

That effort took center stage as Millersville marched to the school’s first championship in a women’s sport. It avenged the losses to Shippensburg and West Chester in the first two NCAA championship rounds, allowing a combined 10 shots on goal while Champayne Hess scored overtime winners in both matches. And in the final, with the Millersville offense held to just two shots on goal, the defense produced its nation-leading 14th shutout in a 1-0 championship victory over LIU Post that finished off the program’s remarkable turnaround.

"It's numbing," Behrens said after the game.  "I'm full of joy. I've been with these girls for four and five years. We've talked about doing this. We went in one day and said we think we can do it and this is how we are going to do it. To have it come to fruition is more than a little overwhelming.” 

CHAMPIONSHIP
Millersville 1, LIU Post 0

SEMIFINALS
Millersville 2, West Chester 1 OT
LIU Post 3, Stonehill 2

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM:
Hannah Davies, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Rachal Toppi, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Erika Kelly, Stonehill College
Lauren Giordano, Stonehill College
Rachel Dickinson, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Champayne Hess, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Katelyn Zapp, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Lyn-Marie Wilson, Long Island University/LIU Post
Dani Crouse, Long Island University/LIU Post
Taylor-Bay Sutton, Long Island University/LIU Post
Lauren Sotzin, Millersville University of Pennsylvania

ELITE 89 HONOREE: Margaret Thorwart, Millersville

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