It took Lebanon Valley College ten years to get back to the top. It took the Flying Dutchmen exactly a day to fall from it.
On Wednesday afternoon in Annville, the number-one ranked Division Three field hockey team in the country, Lebanon Valley, dropped a 3-2 overtime thriller to rival and second-ranked Messiah. On Tuesday, the Flying Dutchmen had learned that they had earned the distinction of ‘the top-ranked team in all the land’ through a vote of the country’s coaches.
Falcon Kourney Ehly’s goal 7:08 into overtime sent LVC to its first loss of the season. Lebanon Valley had enjoyed leads of 1-0 and 2-1, before Messiah forced the extra session with a tying goal with 14 minutes remaining in the second half.
Lebanon Valley could not take cash in on an extra-man advantage it enjoyed over the final 4:52 of regulation – the result of a Messiah yellow card.
The last time Lebanon Valley was ranked number one in the country was 2000, and prior to that in 1997. Despit their glorious past, the Flying Dutchmen have never won a national championship in field hockey.
With the result, LVC slipped to 14-1 on the year and 3-1 in the Commonwealth Conference. Messiah is now 16-2.
In front of a sizeable home crowd, Lebanon Valley grabbed a 1-0 lead 12:21 in on a goal from Jocelyn Novak, the program’s all-time leading scorer. Slamming home a rebound of a Shelly Lobach shot, Novak registered her 32nd goal of the season and the 99th of her career.
Then after Messiah had tied the score at one, Cait Eckenrode put the Flying Dutchmen up 2-1 midway through the second half. Eckenrode pounced on the carom of a Kelsey Miller attempt.
The shots were dead-even at 16, but Messiah enjoyed a 16-9 advantage in penalty corners. The Falcons got off four consecutive penalty corners just prior to Ehly’s game-winner.
Despite the outcome, Lebanon Valley has still outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 90-15 this season. Behind Novak on the Flying Dutchmen individual scoring stat sheet is Caitlin Vasey, who leads all of Division Three with 21 assists, and Elco product and senior Allison Bicher, who has recorded 16 goals and 10 assists.