Two months ago, the Lehigh field hockey team fell to Boston University 4-1. Boston had 28 shots to Lehigh’s seven, and the Mountain Hawks, who were 2-5 at the time, looked outmatched.
On Nov. 5, the Mountain Hawks met the Terriers again, this time for the Patriot League Championship.
Lehigh beat Boston 2-1 on a game-winning goal in overtime by sophomore Guusje Hogendoorn to claim its first Patriot League title since 1994.
During the first quarter, Boston had six penalty corners and six shots, with three of them on goal.
Despite this pressure on goal, Lehigh was able to stifle all of Boston’s chances, in large part due to the play of senior goalkeeper Maddie Kahn, who tallied four saves in the quarter and 12 on the day.
The second quarter was dominated by the Mountain Hawks, who had seven shots on goal during the first eight minutes of the quarter, but, like Lehigh in the first, Boston leaned on goalkeeper Caroline Kelly to keep the score even.
Lehigh continued to control possession through the end of the first half, an effort that was aided by two 11 on 10 advantages in the second quarter. Yet, the score was still tied through one half.
To start the second half, both teams each had penalty corners and multiple shots on goal in the first few minutes.
The tie was finally broken with 3:16 left in the third quarter, when Boston took a 1-0 lead off of a Casey Thompson score with an assist from Martu Coulo. Coulo, the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, created many opportunities for their offense.
With just over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Lehigh freshman Maddie Kandra scored off an assist from senior Sarah Bonthuis to tie the score at one.
“We didn’t get down when BU scored first,” junior Julia Gatelein said. “And we battled our way back to come out with the win.”
With two minutes left to play, Lehigh had the last chance to score in regulation.
With no time remaining on the clock, a penalty corner was called, giving the Mountain Hawks the chance to avoid overtime. They were inches away from making it happen, with Bonthuis sending the ball to the back post, going just out of the reach of junior Lotte Smorenburg.
Both teams had multiple chances to score to begin overtime, including Lehigh junior Abbie Brown nearly finishing a two on one opportunity after a steal at midfield. Yet the score remained tied with three minutes left in the first overtime period, when the Mountain Hawks were able to obtain a penalty corner.
Here, off of a pass from senior Sydney White, Hogendoorn scored from just inside the circle to give the Mountain Hawks the win.
This was Lehigh’s first Patriot League Championship win in 28 years and will be its first NCAA tournament berth.
“I could not be prouder of this team right now,” White said. “This team is truly special, and you can see that.”
Bonthuis said the team’s strong bond made the win all the more exciting.
“We feel like family and achieving something like this together is something we’ll never forget,” Bonthuis said.
Kahn took home the Patriot League tournament MVP after her 12 saves in the game and eight saves in the semifinals against American University.
“Winning the Patriot League Tournament is something I have dreamed of,” Kahn said. “Achieving this my senior year and being named tournament MVP has been the highlight of my career here at Lehigh.”
Hogendoorn, Gatelein and Bonthuis also received all-tournament team honors.
Coach Caitlin Dallmeyer said she could not be prouder of her team.
“We are living every athlete’s dream and experiencing all the emotions that come with it,” Dallmeyer said. “We just won two PLT games in overtime — the most dramatic way possible, against the two top dogs in the conference and now we get to hold the Patriot League Title, an amazing accomplishment for this program.”
The Mountain Hawks are headed to The University of North Carolina to face The University of Delaware (9-11) on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. The Blue Hens won the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament on Sunday for the fourth consecutive year. The winner will face no. 1 seed UNC in the second round.