MANCHESTER, N.H. – The fourth-ranked Saint Anselm College field hockey team defeated the fifth-ranked Pioneers from Long Island University-Post on Saturday by a 3-2 margin.
Saint Anselm, the top-ranked team in the East Region, improves to 15-1 on the season, winning nine out of 10 contests against Northeast-10 Conference opponents. LIU Post, the reigning NE10 champions, falls to 13-3 on the year and to 7-3 against league opponents.
The Pioneers, who trail Saint Anselm by one spot in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association national rankings, accounted for three of the Hawks five total losses from a season ago, including once in the league championship and once in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Both teams played to a scoreless opening half, despite Saint Anselm taking five of the game's six shots. Hannah Friend put the Hawks out in front by a 1-0 margin, putting back a rebound from a Mia Vecchione shot for her ninth strike of the season.
LIU Post countered with two-straight goals only 3:01 apart as Kaycee Zelkovsky fired home a Kate Melvin feed from the top of the circle before Alyssa Lopresti scored a goal in similar fashion, instead receiving a one-touch pass from Emily Miller.
The Hawks knotted the score only minutes later as Emma Kincaid shot the puck up and over LIU Post netminder Rachel Vellis. Kincaid's equalizer was set up by a nifty short pass from Vecchione that was sent down low, allowing the goal scorer space at the top of the crease.
Kincaid's tally gave her 26 career goals, propelling her to second place all-time in Saint Anselm history with 66 total points (26-14=66). She trails Kristina Katsikis '13, who ranks first all-time in career goals scored (28) and career points (28-18=74). Vecchione is also now tied for the career record in assists with 18 across her four-year career.
Abby Walker delivered only 1:58 later, potting the game-winning goal off a rebound given up by Vellis. Walker's third goal of the season was punched home following a brief scrum in the goal mouth following a shot from Kincaid that was turned aside.
Down the stretch, both teams were awarded one penalty corner apiece, but a late green card issued to an LIU Post player helped the Hawks stave off a furious rally in the waning minutes.
Freshman Julia Hand improves to 12-1 on the year for Saint Anselm in goal with the result. Vellis falls to 13-3 overall, yielding three goals on nine shots against.