May 2, 2009

Hamilton Trims Union, Earns Title Defense

from press releases

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Kaillie Briscoe '09 set up Kate Marek '09 for the game-winning goal 2:49 into overtime as Hamilton College upset Union College, 4-3, to win its third straight Liberty League tournament title at Union's Frank Bailey Field on May 2.

The Continentals, also defending NCAA Division III Champions, earn their third straight automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the win. Second seed and nationally ranked No. 8 Hamilton (14-2) avenged a 15-4 regular season loss to top seed and No. 6 Union College (14-3) on April 24, also played at Union. This is the fourth straight year that Union and Hamilton faced each other in the Liberty League tournament title game. Hamilton has won the last three and Union won in 2006.

Hamilton advanced to Saturday's title tilt with a 14-8 win over the third seed Herons of William Smith College on Friday, May 1. Union won the other semi-final against the fourth seed University of Rochester, with a 16-7 win.

Hamilton dominated overtime with a 3-0 advantage in shots and in ground balls. Briscoe's assist on the game-winner is her team-high 33rd of the year. Briscoe found Marek just outside the crease for her 18th goal this season. Hamilton shut Union out of scoring opporutnities to hang on for the win. The Dutchwomen had a chance to tie in the final minute, but Marek caused a turnover with 43 seconds left in the Union offensive zone, and her ground ball with 36 seconds left sealed the victory.

The two teams battled out to a 2-2 first half. Briscoe and tournament MVP Liz Rave '10 scored Hamilton's goals in the frame. Rave scored six goals in two games, including two in the championship game, to claim the honor.

Briscoe's unassisted tally was her 200th career goal and she is in first place on the Continentals' all-time list in goals, assists, and points. It came just 41 seconds into play for an early 1-0 advantage to open the scoring. Rave's goal came 52 seconds later for the 2-0 lead and Sarah Bray '11 was credited with the assist. Host Union notched the last two goals of the half to tie the score going into the break.

Rave added her team-high 39th goal of the season to open the scoring in the second half for a 3-2 Hamilton lead with 21:51 to go. The Dutchwomen erased the deficit with another strike at 16:57.

Union held a slim 18-16 advantage in shots in the game, and a 22-18 advantage in ground balls. Kate Fowler '10 made nine saves in regulation for Hamilton, including one as time expired to send the game to an extra stanza. She made six total saves in the second half and did not face a shot in overtime.

Bray and Liz Benjamin '09 led Hamilton with three ground balls apiece. Benjamin also caused a team-high three turnovers.

Fowler, Briscoe, and Benjamin were named to the all-tournament team. Fowler finished with 15 saves in the tournament and allowed just 11 goals in two complete games. Briscoe had three goals and two assists. Benjamin led the defense with six caused turnovers, and also picked up four ground balls in the weekend's action.

Brackets for the 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament will be announced on CBS College Sports Network on Sunday, May 3 between 10 and 11 p.m.

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