Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania field hockey team pushed the Centre Colonels to the brink late in a Halloween evening battle at Pat Deacon Stadium on Monday, but the Colonels struck late thrice to come away with a 4-1 win going away.
The hard-fought loss for the Pioneers served as the closing game of the regular season, which drew Transylvania's record to 5-11, the most wins experienced for the program in three seasons.
After falling at Centre 6-0 last month, the Pioneers arrived to the rematch as a different team with aggression and movement for nearly the whole 70 minutes.
Fresh off her newly awarded Southern Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week award, sophomore goalie Allyson Benz stepped up again in the first half for the Pioneers, deflecting shot after shot as Centre began the game packing the box offensively.
The Pioneers endured the various waves of Centre strikes before fording the ball upfield in consistent patterns themselves, and pressurizing the Centre defense.
The early back-and-forth paid off for Centre, as Nicole DeHerde broke inside amidst crowded traffic to score against the Pioneers nearly 17 minutes into the match for a 1-0 Colonels lead. While the Pioneers were forced to rebound from the goal, Transylvania continued applying offensive pressure against Centre, and that momentum followed into the second half.
Similar to Transylvania's previous game at Sewanee, Benz came through with a collection of saves early in the second half to catalyze the offensive movement. The Pioneers delivered 11 minutes into the second half as freshman Zoe Jessie set up senior Jessie Wilson for a game-tying goal at 1-1.
The game intensified for the final 20 minutes, but Centre broke away for another go-ahead goal with 16 minutes remaining. While the Pioneers held firm with Centre, the Colonels grabbed two late goals to put the match out of reach.
Despite the late flurry of goals by Centre, Benz again topped her Saturday total in saves with a season-high 15 in an inspiring defensive performance.
With the conclusion of the regular season, the Pioneers now venture to Memphis, Tennessee for the 2016 edition of the SAA Conference Tournament. The Pioneers will have the No. 5 seed and take on fourth-seeded Ferrum in the conference quarterfinals on Friday, November 4.