Montclair, NJ (11/02/11) – Senior defender Chelsea Keelen (Tinton Falls, NJ / Middletown South) scored off a penalty corner 2:23 into overtime as sixth-ranked and second-seeded Montclair State survived a stunning comeback by No. 17 and No. 3 seed Rowan for a 4-3 victory in semifinal action of the inaugural NJAC Tournament at Sprague Field on Wednesday evening.
Sophomore Brittany Carroll (Kingston, NY / Rondout Valley) scored two goals and collected an assist as the Red Hawks advance to the championship game against top-seeded and No. 4 The College of New Jersey on Saturday, November 5 at 6:00 pm in Ewing. The Lions defeated Kean University 5-1 in the other semifinal.
Montclair, which improved to 18-1 on the season, will get another chance at the only team to defeat the Red Hawks this season as the Lions handed MSU a 1-0 setback at Sprague Field on October 15. The winner of the game receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament which begins next week.
Junior goalkeeker Megan Bosland (Boonton, NJ / Boonton) stopped eight shots as Montclair squandered a 3-0 lead as Rowan netted the final three goals of regulation, including the game-tying marker on a penalty corner after time expired.
Montclair State had beaten Rowan 3-0 earlier this season and it appeared in the first half as it the Red Hawks were on their way to doing it again. After putting forth several shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, Carroll broke through with her 15th goal of the season at the 20:56 mark as MSU grabbed a 1-0 lead.
It took the Red Hawks just 62 seconds to extend that lead as Michelle Hagel (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex) collected her 11th goal off assists from Carroll and Kate Norgard (Columbia, NJ / North Warren). Carroll's second goal of the game gave Montclair a three-goal advantage with 7:52 remaining however Rowan would get a huge goal by Kellie Campbell (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) with 1:12 left before halftime as Montclair State led 3-1 at the break.
In the second half, the Profs turned up the pressure outshooting Montclair 11-5 over the 35-minute period. With 18:57 to play, Kelsey O'Neill (Marlton, NJ / Cherokee) scored an apparent goal cutting the lead to 3-2 however the score was disallowed and would prove to be big later on in the game.
With Montclair still holding onto the 3-1 advantage, Rowan cut that down to a goal with 5:12 left as Ashley Adams (Erial, NJ / Timber Creek Regional) scored off a rebound for her ninth of the year. Then with time running down, the Profs were awarded a penalty corner. Time would expire however while playing out the corner, Julie Cairone (Medford, NJ / Shawnee) found Marisa Schoepflin (Sewell, NJ / Washington Township) for the goal, knotting the game at 3-3 and stunning Montclair State.
In overtime, the Red Hawks were able to regroup. getting a pair of penalty corners. Brooke Hullings (Delran, NJ / Delarn) had a shot blocked on the first one but MSU would cash in on the second corner. Freshman Emily Burd (Newton, NJ / Newton) inserted the ball to Hullings, whose one-touched pass to Keelen was slammed into the back of the cage sending Montclair State to the championship game.
Junior keeper Jen Goldberg (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) made eight saves for Rowan, which outshot Montclair State 21-15. Each team had nine penalty corners.
The 18th win of the season for Montclair set a new single-season record as the Red Hawks surpassed the old standard of 17 wins set by the 2005 and 2006 squads.