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November 2, 2013

Regular season finale win locks up home HCAC tourney match

TERRE HAUTE, IND. – Sophomore forward Hannah Field (Fort Wayne, Ind.) picked an opportune time to score her first goal of the 2013 season.

Field, taking a strike from around 22 yards out, according to head coach Andy Stout, nestled the ball into Rose-Hulman's net in the 91st minute to break up a scoreless tie and hand Manchester University its eighth straight win by a 1-0 count Saturday, Nov. 2.

"It  was a beautiful goal," Stout said. "It concluded a great match, too. We were able to reach one of the goals that the team set early in the season due to this win."

Stout referenced MU (12-6-1 overall, 8-1 HCAC) seeking a chance to host a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament match for the first time since 2005. They wrapped up league runner-up honors and the opportunity with the win over the host Fightin' Engineers.

"We've been able to get to this point by taking things one day at a time," Stout said. "We'll continue that theme moving forward into the conference tournament."

Becoming the 10th Spartans' player to tally a goal this season, Field took two of the Black and Gold's 27 shot attempts. Junior forward Katelyn Barta (Griffith, Ind.) led the attack with seven shots, including three on goal, while providing her ninth assist of the season.

Rose-Hulman (10-5-4, 6-3 HCAC), also earning a postseason tourney berth, kept it even in large part to the play of goalkeeper Lucinda Combs. Combs knocked away 12 of MU's 13 shot on goal attempts. Manchester University netminder Emily Willmann was just as impressive. The Montpelier, Ind., native repelled five of eight overall shot tries en route to her 22nd overall career shutout.

MU takes the second seed into the HCAC tourney. They host third-seeded Transylvania University in one of two semifinals Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. at Spartan Field. Top-seeded and conference champion Hanover College takes on fourth-seeded Rose-Hulman in the other match. The two winners meet at the higher seed Saturday, Nov. 9, with a berth to the 2013 NCAA Division III national tournament on the line.

NOTES: The Black and Gold defense has an impressive string going. The opposition hasn't tallied a score in over 300 minutes (301:04) dating back to Bluffton University of Ohio's goal in the 83rd minute Oct. 22 … Barta has registered at least one point in five straight matches.