CUA falls to Juniata in Landmark Conference title game

CUA falls to Juniata in Landmark Conference title game

HUNTINGDON, Pa. – The CUA field hockey team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at No. 18 Juniata in the 2010 Landmark Conference championship game on Saturday.  The Cardinals trailed 3-1 in the second half before cutting it to a one-goal game, but were unable to score the equalizer.

"I don't think we played up to our potential today," a frustrated Gia Cillizza said afterwards.  "We were ok in spots, but we didn't match Juniata's intensity from start to finish.  I think overall they wanted it more than we did and they got it done."

CUA was credited with 11 shots for the game, while Juniata took 14.  The Cardinals were awarded 12 corners and the Eagles ten.  In goal for CUA, Krystyanna Ramsdell stopped two shots, before giving way to Alison Dillard, who played well in relief and sent back five shots.  Juniata goalkeeper Moira Nugent stopped four shots.

CUA's Mary Swarthout took the first shot of the game at the 4:16 mark, but Nugent stopped her attempt.  The Cardinals defense was strong in the beginning, holding the Eagles without a shot until the 10:33 mark when Paula Price's attempt went wide.

Juniata's Caitlyn Bowman took a shot at the 21:31 mark that was saved, while Swarthout's attempt two minutes later was also saved. 

With 26:42 gone in the half there was a srum in front of CUA's cage and Shauna Deschenes was able to poke the ball in for a 1-0 Juniata lead. 

Just about three minutes later CUA tied things at one on Tory Gagliardi's score off a penalty corner.  Liz Grumbein assisted on the goal and that proved to be not only the last goal of the half, but also the last shot.

The first shot of the second half put the Eagles up 2-1 on Paula Price's goal at the 42:34 mark.  The Cardinals were held without a shot until Grumbein got one off at the 51:23 mark, but Nugent sent it back.  Swarthout followed with a shot off the rebound, but her attempt was blocked.

At the 53:47 mark Juniata put the Cardinals in a two-goal hole when Deschenes scored on a penalty stroke.  CUA continued to fight and ten minutes later Mary Beth Leo took a feed from Tracey Scanlon and beat Nugent to make it a 3-2 game.

With six minutes to play the Cardinals continued to look for the equalizer, but Gagliardi's shot at the 68:58 mark was blocked.  CUA had one final chance to tie things at three as the Cardinals were awarded a penalty corner with no time on the clock.  CUA inserted the ball, but Juniata's defender smothered it and the game was over.

"We had a terrific season and fought our way to get to this point (in the championship game)," Cillizza said.  "We had a spectacular performance in the semifinals, but today we just didn't play our best game.  I'm disappointed with the result."