photo credit Pam Kalbfleisch
Memphis, Tenn. – The 2016 season for the Transylvania field hockey team came to a close on Saturday afternoon as the Pioneers were staved off by the Centre College Colonels 1-0 in the Southern Athletic Association semifinals.
With the tight win, Centre moved on to the SAA Tournament championship game set for Sunday afternoon while the Pioneers' run in the SAA came to an end at 6-12 overall, and 2-5 against conference opposition.
The result thwarted the hopes of the Pioneers, who were coming off of a 5-0 tournament-opening victory against Ferrum on Friday and flying high with offensive promise. Transylvania had also entered the game hoping to exact a measure of revenge against Centre as the two teams locked horns for the second time in six days.
Transylvania, getting its second look at Centre in a week, aimed for a close game as their final clash of the regular season proved to be until the last 15 minutes, when Centre scored three late goals to break open what was a tie game.
As was the case nearly a week ago, Centre scored in the first half while Transy sought to deliver an equalizer late; instead, Saturday's match developed into a game of defensive struggle after an early go-ahead goal by the Colonels.
As both teams were getting settled into the afternoon matchup, Centre's Hayley Barker slipped one past the Pioneers into the net for the lone goal of the afternoon. While Transylvania had the upper hand in the penalty corner department outgaining Centre 6-2, the Pioneers could only muster two shots for the afternoon.
Reigning SAA Defensive Player of the Week, sophomore Allyson Benz was again glamorous in goal after abdicating the early score from Centre, collecting seven saves on the afternoon for the Pioneers.
As the sun set on the Pioneers' season, there was much to relish in observing the season with macro-sized lens. The Pioneers grabbed six wins in 2016, the most wins for the program in three years. Benz and the Pioneers also achieved four shutouts in those six victories as the Pioneers displayed their ability to continue forging a defensive identity. The Pioneers also surged on offense, averaging 1.6 goals per game while posting three different performances of five goals or more.
The season also provides a bright glimpse of the next step. With just two seniors graduating in 2017, the Pioneers will draw from a deep well of returnees to continue the progression of Transy Field Hockey.
To follow Transylvania field hockey through its 2016-2017 offseason, follow their official twitter @TransyFH