Baker's Heroics Lead UMW Field Hockey to NCAA Final Four Via 3-2 Win Over Lynchburg

Junior Caitlin Baker scored the eventual game-winning goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in leading the third-ranked University of Mary Washington field hockey team to a 3-2 victory over Lynchburg College in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at the Battleground.

For the fourth straight game, the Eagles found themselves trailing early, as Lynchburg opened the scoring at 6:43 as Katie Kline scored unassisted off a saved shot. And once again, it was senior Lisa Charney who brought the Eagles back, scoring on a Baker assist exactly seven minutes later for her school-record 25th goal of the season.

UMW kep the momentum following the score, and senior Florence George gave the Eagles the lead two and a half minutes later on a rebound following a saved shot. UMW kept the lead at 2-1 to halftime.

Both defenses tightened in the second half, and both teams were kept off the scoreboard until Lynchburg's Lindsey Leonard scored on a Johanna Agustin assist with 13:16 left in regulation. The Eagles answered a final time as Baker scored with 9:12 to play, as her high shot following a saved opportunity gave UMW a lead they would not relinquish.

"We are excited about this opportunity to go to the final four", said second-year UMW head coach Lindsey Elliott. "The girls have worked hard all season and deserve this chance to play for the national championship!"

UMW held a 14-12 shot advantage, and also led in penalty corners, 10-7. UMW senior goalie Claire Gianelle made five saves for the Eagles, and Charney added two defensive saves and freshman Hunter Causey prevented another with a defensive save. Lynchburg's Hannah Myers added three saves.

The Eagles advance to the NCAA national semifinals for the second time, as UMW advanced to the national championship game in 1993, falling to Cortland State, 1-0, in the final. The Eagles will face second-ranked Montclair State University, who defeated the University of Rochester, 2-0, on Sunday in Salisbury, Md., on Saturday in Geneva, N.Y., with a 2 p.m. start time.