HAVERFORD, Pa. – Wednesday evening's 4-0 Centennial Conference victory over visiting Washington College clinched the No. 2 seed for the 16th-ranked Haverford College field hockey team, earning the Fords a first-round bye and guaranteeing a trip into the semifinal round of the conference tournament for the fourth straight year.
Senior Night turned into a celebration for the Fords' seven seniors as three ended up scoring one goal each and two more held the Shorewomen scoreless in the shutout victory under the lights at Swan Field.
Senior Bridget Gibbons got Haverford (12-4, 7-2 CC) on the scoreboard first with a goal off a feed from Sarah Waldis not even five minutes into the opening half of play. Gibbons' ninth of the year put Washington (9-8, 5-4) in an early hole from which it wasn't able to climb.
The lead increased to two on Catherine Aronowitz's goal in the 13th minute, with an assist from senior Mary Hobbs. Washington was game, however, and pressured in the attacking end for much of the final 22 minutes before halftime. Senior goalkeeper Sydney Hyder came up with a pair of saves for the Fords to keep the ledger clean and the Shorewomen off the stat sheet as the teams headed into the break.
Senior Christie Quake's low liner from just inside the top, left of the circle 2:30 into the second half added another tally for Haverford, and then Hobbs closed out the scoring in the 41st with her team-leading 11th goal, an unassisted reverse stick shot from 10 yards out that put an end to Washington netminder Stephanie Harryman's night.
Hyder (11-4) earned the win for Haverford, giving way to fellow senior Courtney Knill for the final 14 minutes. Knill added a save on the only shot that made it through the defense onto goal to ensure the shutout victory. Harryman (9-7) took the loss surrendering four goals while making five saves. Brit Barr came on in relief of Harryman shortly after Hobbs' goal.
The win, and a head-to-head victory earlier in the season over third-place Gettysburg College, means the Fords can finish no worse than in a tie with Gettysburg, clinching the No. 2 spot within the league's standings. Should the Fords close out the regular season Saturday at Swarthmore College with a victory, it would be the first time in program history that Haverford would finish alone in second place.
In 2010 Haverford was tied with Johns Hopkins University but had to settle for the No. 3 seed after losing the head-to-head tie-breaker following a loss to the Blue Jays in the regular season, though the Fords exacted revenge in the semifinal round knocking Hopkins off its perch and playing in the tournament's championship game.
Haverford's Class of 2013 -- Sarah Crist, Gibbons, Hobbs, Hyder, Knill, Alyssa Mayo and Quake -- were honored with a brief pregame ceremony attended by many of their parents. The senior class is the winningest in program history with 46 wins and a .630 winning percentage. They will be the first seniors to play in the semifinals of the conference tournament all four years with the team. The Class of 1992 earned berths in four straight Middle Atlantic Conference postseason tournaments but failed to reach the second round all four years.
Saturday's game at Swarthmore has playoff implications for the Garnet who sit a game out of the final playoff spot, adding spice to the annual rivalry match-up between Haverford and Swarthmore.