MANCHESTER, N.H. – On this day in 2016, the nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College field hockey team made the program's first appearance in the NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championship, taking on No. 4 ranked LIU Post in the national semifinals.
The Hawks and Pioneers battled to overtime on the campus of Stonehill College, but it was LIU Post that came out on top, locking down a 1-0 overtime victory to cap the Saint Anselm season. The Hawks held statistical advantages in shots taken (12-to-9) and penalty corners (12-to-4).
Saint Anselm earned a spot in the "Final Four" with a thrilling First Round win against Stonehill on Nov. 12. Down by a 1-0 margin at Grappone Stadium heading into the second half, the Hawks rattled off three consecutive goals to capture a 3-1 victory in front of a raucous home crowd. The win was the first for the program in the NCAA tournament.
Head Coach Carolyn King-Robitaille, who was named Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year for the first time, helped the Hawks to the program's first NE10 regular season championship. The team also secured its first berth in the NE10 Championship title game and won a school-record 17 games in the process, including five wins over nationally-ranked teams.
The 2016 season saw Saint Anselm ranked as high as No. 3 in the country by the National Field Hockey Coaches' Association (NFHCA), which was also the highest ranking in program history. Following up a strong 2015 season, the 2016 squad elevated the program to national prominence, and since then, Saint Anselm has enjoyed a 69-18 (.793) overall record while winning 38-of-44 games played at Grappone Stadium.
The team featured five All-NE10 selections, including NE10 Goalkeeper of the Year Katherine Sears '17 and NE10 Defender of the Year Elizabeth Alie '17, who were among three Hawks named Longstreth/NFHCA All-Americans.
Alie helped anchor a defensive back line that finished sixth in the country and second in the NE-10 in goals against average (1.02). Alie departed Saint Anselm with 75 starts in her career, helping the team improve from giving up an average of 2.60 goals per game her freshman year to the program-best 1.02 goals-against average the team posted in 2016.
Earning All-American status for the first time was Sears, who backstopped the Hawks to all 17 wins while posting a career-best 1.05 goals-against average to go with 97 saves, a .808 save percentage and five shutouts in just over 1,536 minutes. She ranked second in the NE-10 and sixth in the nation in goals-against average, placing sixth in the league in saves and fourth in save percentage.
Erin Collins '18 was a Second Team All-America selection, helping one of the stingiest defenses in the NE10 while also registering 12 points on four goals and four assists (4-4=12) to go with three defensive saves. Collins recorded a point in eight games on the year and logged one game-winning goal.