BY JEFF FALK
The Lebanon Valley College field hockey season ended the same way it began – with disappointment.
But in between, it was chocked full of accomplishment.
On Wednesday afternoon in Annville, the 15th ranked Flying Dutchmen’s campaign met with an abrupt end, in the form of a 5-3 upset loss to Alvernia. Lebanon Valley enjoyed a 3-1 lead in a semifinal match of the Middle Atlantic Conference playoffs, but surrendered four unanswered second-half tallies.
Lebanon Valley, which opened its season with three consecutive losses under rookie head coach Carol Miller, finished 14-5. During the campaign, Lebanon Valley ripped off ten straight wins and senior forward Jocelyn Novak set the NCAA Division Three record for goals in a career.
The Flying Dutchmen were shooting for their eighth straight appearance in the MAC championship game. Instead it’ll be the 13-6 Crusaders who will be playing for the title on Saturday.
Down 1-0, Lebanon Valley needed 18 seconds to grab the lead, on a pair of goals from Novak.
First Novak converted a feed from Cox off a corner play. Then on the ensuing restart, Novak rushed into the Alvernia circle, where she was physically taken down by Alvernia netminder Erin Wunsch.
On the resulting penalty stroke, Novak beat Wunsch to put Lebanon Valley up 2-1. And 3:53 into the second half, Mandi Albright made it 3-1 Valley.
But after that, the wheels came off the Lebanon Valley wagon.
In the final tally, Lebanon Valley out shot the Crusaders 16-12 and held a similar advantage in penalty corners.