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Emily Miller leads LIU Post field hockey to national championship

LIU Post field hockey player Emily Miller is

LIU Post field hockey player Emily Miller is lifted by teammate Savanah Cumming after scoring the winning goal in overtime against St. Anselm in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II national tournament held at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Credit: AP / Gretchen Ertl

EASTON, Mass. — LIU Post has been a dominant force in women’s field hockey. On Friday, the program clinched its third trip to the Division II national championship game in four years with a 1-0 semifinal overtime win against St. Anselm at Stonehill College.

Now, the Pioneers look to earn their first national title when they face Shippensburg in the final at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Post (16-3) made it three overtime wins over St. Anselm, its rival from the Northeast-10 conference.

Emily Miller scored the winner seven minutes into overtime when she tipped in a 25-yard pass by Julie Gysels from the right side.

“When I have the ball on my stick, the only thing I’m thinking about is scoring,” said Miller, who has 20 goals on the season. “That play, obviously there were so many emotions running through my head. I just happened to get the touch on it.”

Post coach Raenee Savin said of the win, “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew they were going to come out strong and they were going to come out and be aggressive. I guess it was a good confidence builder going out and knowing we had beaten them twice.”

In the second half, the Hawks outshot Post, 8-1. But with seven saves and her fourth shutout in five games, goalkeeper Ericka Parks was able to neutralize the threat. Arantxa Rosainz Caloca and Grace Ilias excelled defensively for the Pioneers.

Post now turns its attention to Shippensburg, which beat the Pioneers in overtime of the 2013 national championship.

Post, which has won eight straight, has 10 upperclassmen on its roster. While the team’s experience could prove beneficial on Sunday, experience alone will not rid them of all of their worries headed in.

“It’s hard because you’re always going to have nerves,” said Parks, a senior. “Today, I felt like I was playing field hockey for the very first time in my life for some reason. You get that adrenaline rush and sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if you’ve been there before because for some us, it’s a brand new experience.”


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