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Field Hockey Loses at Lynchburg in Playoff Rematch

Field Hockey Loses at Lynchburg in Playoff Rematch

LYNCHBURG, Va. - In a rematch of last year's exciting ODAC semifinal (and the previous season's championship game), the Bridgewater College field hockey team was defeated 2-0 by Lynchburg College.

The teams were meeting for the first time since the ODAC semifinals last November at Washington & Lee, where Allison Kirk scored in overtime for a 2-1 BC win to end the Hornets' nine-year run as ODAC champions.

Tonight's scoreline was more reminiscent of the 2014 conference title game however, where Lynchburg prevailed 2-0 on their home turf.

The Eagles couldn't break through despite several good chances, including a number of opportunities by freshman Emily Matisons.

Lynchburg had opening the scoring less than eight minutes in, with Kayla Copeman assisting Lacey Elliott.

The Eagles had several good chances to pull level, including Matisons hitting the post with nine minutes remaining in the first half.

Bridgewater had a corner in the final minutes of the half, but Laura Gretz' shot was stopped by Beka Hess (six saves).

Gretz had two shots on goal for BC with Matisons registering five total attempts. The Eagle rookie was on target twice in the opening five minutes of the second, but both were turned away by Hess.

Mallory Henderson gave the Hornets some breathing room in the 60th minute, scoring to double the advantage.

The Eagles earned another pernalty corner and Elizabeth Washington was denied by Hess, with Matisons' shot blocked by a defender off an ensuing corner.

Bridgewater freshman Ali Bishop also had a good game in the cage, coming up with 11 saves of her own.

Bishop saved Nicole Simpao and then stopped two consecutive rebound attempts by Copeman in the first half to keep it a one-goal game.

She blocked another Simpao shot later in the first, and made two saves in the second half before Lynchburg could finally break through with a second.

Bridgewater falls to 1-2, 1-1 ODAC and will play its home opener on Sunday vs. St. Mary's. 

For a conference where Bridgewater has more NCAA Division III tournament wins (10) than the rest of the league combined (four), a recent necessity has been to step up the division's strength of schedule. The issue was at the forefront last fall, when the NCAA selection committee did not give 9-1 Guilford an at-large bid and sent undefeated Washington & Lee on the road to face the Thomas More squad that comes to the Valley today.

Defending ODAC champion Washington & Lee faced a nationally-ranked opponent in Week 1, losing to Johns Hopkins. Bridgewater is also doing its part. After a season-opening 38-22 road win at a Gettysburg team that was 7-3 a year ago, the Eagles are ramping up their schedule with a first-ever matchup vs. Thomas More. The Saints were 11-1 a year ago and ranked #11 in the D3football.com preseason poll, although they slipped to #22 this week after an upset loss to Franklin.

The Bridgewater defense was outstanding against a Bullets team that beat them 49-10 in their home opener a year ago. The Eagles allowed 416 yards of total offense but most of that came on three garbage times touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, with Bridgewater's starters sitting out after scoring points of their own- with Davey Hardesty's pick-six giving the Eagles a 31-0 advantage early in the final period.

There was a new quarterback under center after two seasons of Matt Pisarcik and Ross Rushing, and redshirt-sophomore Brendon Maturey aced his first test with 193 yards in the air, 101 on the ground, and three touchdown passes. Bridgewater also has a transfer quarterback battling for time, former Shepherd QB Jay Scroggins, and another transfer, former Division I-AA starter Jack Howerton, adds experience and strength on the offensive line after joining from Stetson University.

The Eagles are integrating many new pieces on offense and are still working through some questions in the backfield, but have several speedy youngsters at wide receiver and players who can run outside the tackles.

Thomas More had a staggering 19 All-PAC selections after their undefeated regular season, but graduated all 10 first and second team selections, and 13 overall.

Returning honorable mention All-Conference players include senior offensive lineman Trevor Meyer, junior fullback Cam Evans, senior running back C.T. Tarrant, senior defensive lineman Rodderick Darden, and defensive backs Brandon Neal and Johnny Lammers.

This is the only home game in September, as the Eagles will play next at Jopson on Family Week, the first day of October. That will be BC's ODAC opener, and a crucial one as the Eagles host contender Hampden-Sydney. After their performance in the opener, Bridgewater will hope to count itself among the teams who can compete for the conference title as well. Today will be a stern test of where the Eagles stand.