Sacred Heart Wins 2008 NEC Championship!

April 27, 2008

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HAMDEN, Conn. (April 27, 2008) - Sacred Heart sophomore Carissa Hauser (East Northport, NY) scored the game-winner with just three seconds on the clock to deliver the Pioneers the 2008 Northeast Conference Championship with a 15-14 win over Quinnipiac Sunday afternoon. Hauser buried a feed from tournament MVP Amanda Williams (Monroe, CT) on the final possession to clinch the program's first-ever league title. The Pioneers will move on to take on America East Champion Boston University in the NCAA Tournament Play-In game next Saturday, May 3rd.

Hauser earned a spot on the NEC All-Tournament team thanks to her career-high five-goal performance against the Bobcats. Joining Hauser on the all-tournament team is MVP Williams, senior Katie Salamone (Baltimore, MD), sophomore Chelsea Wagner (Aurora, CO) and freshman Jessica Ingrilli (Wantagh, NY).

The Pioneers took a 14-13 lead with 2:18 to go and took the ensuing draw looking to run out the clock. The Bobcats responded defensively and picked-off an errant pass, cleared the ball and set up their offensive attack. SHU's Wagner made a stop on Katie Latonick. QU's Tiffany Manzi drew a foul and was awarded an 8meter and she converted with 32 seconds left to knot the game at 14-14.

Quinnipiac kept the momentum going taking the ensuing draw as Kelly Bruneau raced in looking for the go ahead goal but Wagner stood tall and turned her away. The rebound came right back to Bruneau but her second shot went wide and the Pioneers took control of the ball with the length of the field in front of them and just 17 seconds to play. SHU quickly got clear with Williams shot up the right sideline heading toward goal racing against the clock. The junior attacker was able to make it into the 8meter zone and drew a foul, setting up the final free position attempt. Williams pulled back on her attempt and place a perfect pass to Hauser right in front who beat Hannah Nelson with three ticks showing for the win.

The Pioneers had to battle back from a four-goal deficit in the first half and trail by just one, 10-9, at the break. After a quick QU goal just 22 seconds into the game, the Pioneers scored three-straight from Hauser, Williams and Salamone for a 3-1 lead. The Bobcats rattled off three-straight of their own over the next three plus minutes to pull back in front, 4-3. Hauser buried her second of the game at 17:35 off a feed from senior Liz Ottey (Baltimore, MD) to knot it back up, 4-4.

From there, the Bobcats controlled the next 10 minutes of play, using a 5-1 run to pull in front 9-5. Ashley Valentine and Nicole Fiore started it with back-to-back markers at 14:29 and 14:18. Hauser buried her third, unassisted, at 13:35 but QU answered right back on the next possession with Jamie Zeitler scoring just 33 second later. Latonick came up with back-to-back tallies at 8:22 and 8:12, the second from Manzi, for the four-goal advantage.

SHU put an end to the rally at 7:37 and outscored Quinnipiac 4-1 rest of the half to stay in it. Salamone scored on a free-position attempt at 7:37 and followed at 4:48 with an unassisted marker. After a QU goal by Valentine, SHU's Williams hit from 8meters at 1:40 and Ingrilli pulled the Pioneers to within 10-9 with an unassisted tally with three seconds to go.

After a Bobcat goal opened the second half, the Pioneers grabbed their first lead since the 27:05 mark of the first half with three-straight scores. Hauser, Ottey and Williams put the Pioneers in front 12-11 just 4:38 into the second half. The two teams would trade goals over the next nine minutes to sit tied a 13-13 with 16:33 to go. Both defenses took over from there and kept the game scoreless until the 2:18 mark when SHU's Ottey got loose in front and buried one unassisted for a 14-13 lead to set up the late game heroics.

The Pioneers out shot the Bobcats 16-13 in the second half as Wagner made five of her nine saves during the final 30 minutes. SHU scored five-of-seven on 8meter free position attempts and won 20 of the 31 draws taken. In addition to Hauser's stellar five-goal afternoon, Williams buried three goals and assisted on two others while collecting five draw wins. Salamone netted three goals and had four draw wins while Ottey had a pair of goals and an assist. Ingrilli had a pair of goals and led the team with four ground balls.

Sacred Heart improves to 12-7 on the year, a new school record for wins to go with their first-ever conference championship. The Pioneers will face BU after the #8 nationally ranked Terriers won their fourth-straight America East title with a 9-8 overtime win over New Hampshire this afternoon.

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