SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The Wittenberg field hockey team certainly saved its best for last in the 2012 season, culminating in a most memorable Senior Recognition Day victory over Ohio Wesleyan.
The game started in a driving rain on Friday, Oct. 26, but with 25:31 left in the second half and the Tigers leading 1-0, play was suspended due to poor field conditions. The two teams agreed to resume the game on Monday, Oct. 29. The rain may have held off, but the final part of this game was still played in unusual weather circumstances as unseasonably cold temperatures combined with high winds ushered in by Hurricane Sandy as it spun near the New Jersey shore.
Ohio Wesleyan sent the game into overtime, but the Tigers responded in a way that promises to provide plenty of momentum heading into the offseason. Just one minute into the extra session, sophomore Audrey Phibbs (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) corralled a rebound near the OWU goal cage and maneuvered behind the keeper to knock home the game-winner at the 71:17 mark of the game.
The 2-1 victory was the fourth in the final five games of the 2012 season as the Tigers improved to 6-12 overall and 5-9 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC). The Battling Bishops dropped to fourth place in the final NCAC regular season standings as their four-game winning streak was snapped. OWU will take on first-place DePauw in the NCAC Tournament semifinals at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The game opened on Friday with a brief ceremony to recognize the Tigers' lone senior, Kellen Morrissey (Aurora, Colo./Smoky Hill). She responded with her typically strong game, putting all four of her shots on frame, including the first two shots of what turned out to be the game-winning flurry in overtime.
Wittenberg opened the scoring on Friday with a goal in the 31st minute. Sophomore Beth Warning (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) hit paydirt after freshman Paige Vanerstrom (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) played a ball in front of the Ohio Wesleyan goal cage, sweeping the ball past OWU goalkeeper Karson Stevenson from her knees.
Ohio Wesleyan broke through to tie the game in the 60th minute. That was the Battling Bishops' lone attempt to escape the reach of junior goalkeeper Alie Marousek (Pittsburgh, Pa./Portsmouth (NH)), who made eight saves in each half in a tremendous performance. She was aided greatly by the play of junior Mallory Skrobot (Dublin, Ohio/Watterson), who was credited with a whopping three defensive saves in the game as she repeatedly put herself in the right place at the right time.
She nearly had a fourth defensive save in the first half of the game, but the ball struck her foot, leading to a penalty stroke for OWU's Lauren Bailey. Marousek came up big moments later, sliding to her right to stop the attempt.
Ohio Wesleyan outshot Wittenberg 29-14 and piled up 17 penalty corners to four for the Tigers. Freshman Tiffany McKenna (Belvidere, NJ/Belvidere) led Wittenberg with five shots, including three on goal.