Field Hockey Holds Off RPI, 4-3

Montclair, NJ (9/6/08) – Sophomore midfielder Diana Colombo ( Westhampton, NJ / Rancocas Valley) scored a pair of goals off the bench as Montclair survived a late charge by Rensselaer (and Tropical Storm Hanna) for a 4-3 victory in the MSU / William Paterson Invitational at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.

Juniors Rebecca Dobiesz ( Old Bridge, NJ / Old Bridge) and Megan Pietrunti (Middletown, NJ / Red Bank Catholic) each added goals as Montclair (2-0) captured the “Battle of Red Hawks” in a contest played under a heavy downpour throughout much of the game.

Freshman goalkeeper Briana Earle ( Baldwinsville, NY / C.W. Baker) made 14 saves for RPI, which nearly rallied from a 4-1 deficit before dropping to 1-1 on the year.

Rensselaer got on the board first as Megan McNamara ( Johnstown, NY / Johnstown) slipped a long breakaway pass onto the stick of Kristina Baker ( Bolton, MA / Nashoba Regional). Baker then maneuvered inside five yards on the right side before flicking a shot inside the near post for her first goal of the season and a 1-0 RPI lead 4:26 into the contest.

Montclair State would answer back with a four-goal run bridging the halves. Dobiesz collected her first of the season on a rebound put back past a diving Earle at the 11:07 mark. MSU then needed just 61 seconds to take the lead as Colombo scored off a scramble in front of the cage as Montclair State led 2-1 at the break.

In the second half, Pietrunti extended the lead two minutes in as she put back her own rebound for a two-goal advantage. Colombo capped the run with her second 4:28 later as Montclair led 4-1 with 28:32 left in the contest.

But Rensselaer would not go away and closed the deficit to 4-2 at the 48:44 mark when Lisa Pak ( Methuen, MA / Methuen) chipped a shot past Montclair keeper Emina Udrjia ( West Paterson, NJ / Passaic Valley) from eight yards out. RPI trimmed the lead further with just over 12 minutes left. A quick turnover near midfield would turn into a 3-on-none break for RPI. Margaret Chowaniec ( Burlington, CT / Lewis Mills) moved inside 15 yards and slid a pass to Morgan Danner ( McLean, VA / Langley) just before a sliding Udrjia could get to the ball. Danner, on the left side, banged home the pass to make the score 4-3.

Montclair State had two opportunities to extend its lead, however Earle came up with a pair of saves on shots by Megan Walsh ( Lubmerton, NJ / Rancocas Valley). RPI would then get a chance to tie, however Udrjia stopped a hard shot off a penalty corner by Chowaniec and another by Sandy Turnbull ( Upperville, VA / Chatham Hall) to preserve the lead. RPI got one final chance with a penalty corner in the closing seconds, but the MSU defense was able to knock the ball out of the circle and time expired.

Udrija made six saves for Montclair State, which held the edge in shots and (19-11) and penalty corners (6-5).

Both teams complete action in the MSU / William Paterson Invitational on Sunday. MSU will host SUNY-Geneseo at Sprague Field beginning at 2:00 pm. RPI is at Wightman Field at William Paterson for a 1:00 pm start.