Top-ranked women’s field hockey faced off against Bryn Mawr College in the Centennial Conference Championship on Nov. 5. The Blue Jays entered the game with a 15–3 record and a chance to advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament to claim their fourth consecutive Centennial Conference Championship.
In what was a low-scoring affair, no point was made until late in the fourth quarter when Hopkins senior forward Tessa Erickson scored after a save by Bryn Mawr goalie Maggie Titus was deflected toward her. With 8:13 remaining in the game, it would be the first goal scored between both teams.
Bryn Mawr responded in a dramatic fashion when forward Sarah Chapman assisted midfielder Novy Goetgeluk for a game-tying goal with just 0.8 seconds left in regulation. Just one second separated Hopkins from another championship. Instead, the game went into overtime.
Hopkins forward Tessa Erickson spoke with The News-Letter on what it felt like to go the distance with Bryn Mawr in such a crucial game.
“We had gotten a lot of great shots off throughout the game, but they have a great goalkeeper, so getting one in after a few close misses was definitely a relief,” she said. “It was nerve-wracking to go into overtime and then shootouts for the championship, so we just tried to focus on staying composed and confident. It certainly made the day more exciting.”
After a lengthy overtime period, both teams remained deadlocked at 1–1. Since an overtime period was not enough to determine a winner, the Centennial Conference Champion was determined by a shoot-out.
After five rounds in the shoot-out, both teams were tied at four. Both teams matched each other for an entire six rounds. However, fortunes changed in the seventh round.
The Bryn Mawr team missed on their seventh attempt, setting up graduate midfielder Abby Birk for the game-winner to give Hopkins its fourth consecutive Centennial Conference Championship.
Birk was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight season for her heroics in the shoot-out.
Birk shared how it felt to score the championship-winning goal in an interview with The News-Letter.
“It was a really amazing moment to have the opportunity to take the stroke for the game-winner in shoot-outs,” she said. “It was a super hard-fought game by every single person on this team and being able to win it in the second round of shoot-outs demonstrates the resilience and determination of this team.”
Hopkins controlled shots on goal throughout the game, leading 34–7 in that department.
With the victory, Hopkins earned a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament and will face the winner of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Hartwick College on Nov. 12. Hopkins field hockey has advanced to the Final Four in the last three seasons and reached the national championship last year.
Birk hopes to be on the right side of history this season with a national championship victory.
“I believe having been challenged in the conference tournament like this will prepare us really well going forward in the NCAA tournament,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what our team can accomplish this postseason.”