Kutztown University won the first national field hockey championship in program history Sunday with a 2-1 victory over East Stroudsburg in the NCAA Division II title game at Grappone Stadium in Manchester, N.H.
Greenleigh McGehee scored with 8:37 left to give the third-ranked and third-seeded Golden Bears (19-3) the lead. The ball was sent toward the cage by Mackenzie Kile off a corner. McGehee knocked the ball into the net as it kicked around in front for her third goal of the season.
That capped a stretch of a little more than two minutes during which KU had two corners and seven shots.
The top-ranked, top-seeded and defending champion Warriors (18-3) had taken a 1-0 lead just 2:17 into the game when Lia Parker scored off an assist from Grace Lesh on a corner.
Kutztown tied it with 1:42 left in the third quarter while East Stroudsburg was two players down due to yellow cards.
Jillian Buchman scored off a rebound after goalie Amy Supey made the save on a shot by Jessica Traynor.
The Warriors pressured down the stretch, getting two corners and five shots over the final 5:56. Oley Valley grad Madison Kline, a senior forward for East Stroudsburg, had three shots in the final minutes, one that was saved by Mia Kepler and two that went wide.
Kline finished with a team-high five shots, including two on goal, in 36 minutes
Kepler made five saves.
Kutztown had advantages of 17-12 in shots, 8-6 in shots on goal and 7-6 in corners.
Sarah Gatehouse, a senior back and Wilson grad, played all 60 minutes and had one shot for the Golden Bears. She was voted the 2023 PSAC Defensive Athlete of the Year and was the recipient of the Elite 90 Award for this year’s NCAA Division II championships in field hockey. The award is given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site of each NCAA championship.
Oley Valley grad Karlee Howard, a freshman midfielder, also is on the Kutztown roster, and Oley Valley grad Amber Auchenbach is in her seventh season as an assistant coach for the Golden Bears.
In addition to Kline, three other Berks high school grads are on the East Stroudsburg roster: Gov. Mifflin grad Madyson Baessler, a freshman back; Wilson grad Caitlyn Moseman, a freshman back; and Twin Valley grad Hannah Schmittinger, a freshman back.
Kutztown, which set a program-record with its 19th win, was making just its second appearance in the national championship game. The Golden Bears lost 2-0 to Bloomsburg in the 1997 final.
The Golden Bears had lost 2-1 in overtime at East Stroudsburg on Sept. 26. They had lost 11 of the last 13 games against the Warriors dating to 2015 before Sunday.
Kutztown defeated second-ranked and second-seeded Shippensburg 2-1 Friday in the semifinals, also coming back after falling behind 1-0.
The national championship is the school’s third in a team sport since 1981. The men’s rugby team won the Collegiate Rugby Championship Men’s Premier National Cup in 2022 and the men’s powerlifting team won in 1981.
Source: Berkshire mont