NO. 1 EAST STROUDSBURG vs NO. 4 KUTZTOWN | 1 PM ET | NCAA
It’s underdog No. 4 Kutztown taking on the reigning champion No. 1 East Stroudsburg in the Division II NCAA Championship on Sunday.
It was a magic moment for the Kutztown Golden Bears on Friday night in Manchester, N.H. After falling to Shippensburg twice earlier this season, Kutztown finally defeated the Raiders to earn a spot in the NCAA Final for the first time since 1997. In their regular season conference loss, the Golden Bears played a back and forth match with the Raiders that ended 3-2, with the game-winner from PSAC offensive leader Tess Jedeloo. Their second meeting of the year came in the PSAC semifinal match, which went into overtime after regulation ended without a goal from either team. It was Jedeloo again who tallied for Shippensburg, notching the golden goal seven minutes into overtime for a 1-0 victory.
The third time was the charm for Kutztown in the NCAA Semifinal. Shippensburg struck first with a goal by Jedeloo in the first quarter, but it would be the only goal allowed by goalkeeper Mia Kepler, who went on to make seven saves. Freshman Jessica Traynor found the tying goal just five minutes later with a backhand finish off a penalty corner rebound shot by Mackenzie Kile. Defense on both sides persisted for almost the entire remainder of the game, until junior Juliana Donato fed the ball into the circle to Kile, who was fouled to earn a penalty stroke for the Golden Bears in the 57th minute. Stepping up herself to take the penalty, Kile found the back of the net to score what would be the winning goal in Kutztown’s 2-1 victory.
The Golden Bears are now 18-3 overall after defeating Pace 2-1 in the NCAA First Round and Shippensburg 2-1 in the Semifinals. Kutztown is on the prowl for their first-ever NCAA Championship trophy.
Alternatively, the 18-2 East Stroudsburg Warriors dominated Assumption in their Semifinal match after receiving a bye in the First Round. It was a 3-0 shutout for the Warriors, with the opening goal coming from senior Grace Lesh in the sixth minute off a redirected penalty corner shot. It would prove to be all they needed, as the defense held the Greyhounds to just five shots on goal – all stopped by goalkeeper Amy Supey, including a penalty stroke opportunity. Freshman Minke Klijn locked down the victory with two more goals – one in the first and another in the fourth quarter. PSAC Athlete of the Year Jady van Gils picked up her fifth assist of the season on Klijn’s first goal.
The Warriors defeated Shippensburg 2-1 to claim this year’s PSAC title after defeating them 1-0 in the NCAA Championship match in 2022. East Stroudsburg is seeking their third NCAA title.
The Golden Bears and Warriors played an extremely tight contest earlier this fall, on September 26. Kutztown’s Jillian Buchman got the scoring started with a goal in the 33rd minute, but East Stroudsburg’s Maddy Barbush tied the score at 1-1 with a penalty stroke goal in the final three minutes of regulation. Graduate student Nicole Krozser tallied the game-winner just a few minutes into extra time to give the Warriors the 2-1 victory.
FINAL: EAST STROUDSBURG 1, KUTZTOWN 2