TOWSON, Md. - Sacred Heart (1-0) outscored the Towson University field hockey team 2-1 in the shootout and claimed a 3-2 victory on Friday afternoon in the season opener for both squads.
Rachel Claroni and Liz Bergman both scored on their shootout attempts for Sacred Heart after the teams played to a 2-2 draw in regulation and after two overtimes. Freshman Sam Zelenack scored on her shootout attempt for the Tigers.
Towson (0-1) took a 1-0 lead in the middle of the first half when senior Kathleen Morris scored on a penalty stroke. It was the team’s first penalty stroke goal since October 12, 2012, when Kelsey Fielder converted on her attempt for Towson in a 3-2 victory over UC Davis.
Morris, expected to make a big leap in her senior season, was part of the Towson offense which pressured the Pioneers early and often. The Tigers attempted 14 shots, including eight in the first half.
With the teams tied at 1-1 late in the first half, Zelenack capped an impressive opening period for the Tigers with her first career goal. The freshman gathered a loose ball in front of the Pioneer net and shot it past Sacred Heart’s Mary Altepeter with 3:16 left for her first career goal, lifting the Tigers to a 2-1 advantage. Zelenack was one of five players making their Towson debuts on Friday.
Another newcomer for the Tigers, junior goalkeeper Brittany Varacallo, also had a tremendous first appearance. Varacallo stopped nine Sacred Heart shots, including a beautiful kick save with 7:20 remaining in the second overtime to preserve the 2-2 tie.
Altepeter made six saves for the Pioneers.
Towson returns to action on Sunday with a game against Davidson in College Park, Md., beginning at 10 a.m.