BLOOMSBURG EARNS FOURTH STRAIGHT DIVISION II TITLE

From the TopOfTheCircle.com news services

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- If anyone thought that the Bloomsburg Huskies' perch on top of the Division II heap might have been threatened when its long-time National Collegiate Athletic Association dance partner Lock Haven failed to make the 1999 championship game, nobody bothered to tell head coach Jan Hutchinson.

Bloomsburg played a brilliant, dominating game against the upstart Bentley Falcons, coming out with a 2-0 win. Bloomsburg (19-0) won its fourth straight title -- unprecedented in the sport of field hockey at any of the NCAA’s three divisions -- and broke Bentley’s 28-game winning streak.

The pace of the first half augured well for Bentley, starting the game with six corners in the game’s first six minutes. But each time, Bloomsburg was able to turn back the Falcons without a shot on goal.

This allowed the game to go scoreless into halftime, and Bloomsburg was able to get goals from Bridgett Heckman and Belinda Price in the second half to get the win.

"Thank goodness for second periods," said Hutchinson. "We were tight in the first half with the added pressure of going for four straight titles in the back of the players’ minds. Bentley is a good team and we just told the team to play the Bloomsburg game and settle down."

The Huskies did.

"There were a lot of sticks near the ball, and I was fortunate to get mine in there and direct it to the goal," Heckman said.

Bloomsburg took full measure of its home-field advantage in the final, playing the game it needed to in order to best Bentley, whose last appearance in a final was in 1981.

"We’re a better turf team, and we would have preferred to have played on turf," said Bentley head coach Kelly West. "Usually, we capitalize on penalty corners. Today, we couldn’t because of the grass."

Bloomsburg has won 54 out of its last 55 games, the only loss being to NAIA stalwart Houghton (N.Y.).

 Bloomsburg  1  1

 2

Bentley  0  0

 0

Goals-- BL: Bridgett Heckmann, Belinda Price. Assists -- BL: Jess Kircher.

Shots-- BE 0; BL 9. Saves-- Bentley: Carolyn Cahill 7. Bloomsburg:Trish Leitzel 0.

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