Centre overcomes early deficit to defeat Rhodes and win the 2017 SAA Field Hockey Championship

Centre overcomes early deficit to defeat Rhodes and win the 2017 SAA Field Hockey Championship

Courtesy of Centre Athletics

MEMPHIS (Nov. 5, 2017) - The Centre field hockey team overcame an early deficit to defeat Rhodes, 4-1, Sunday in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Championship, claiming the program's second conference title in the SAA era and sixth all-time.

In what was yet another rematch between the Colonels and Lynx (the two teams have now met in all six SAA title matches since the conference began in 2012), the visiting team used four unanswered goals to run away with the victory. Centre improved to 15-4 overall with the win while dropping Rhodes to 12-5.

The host Lynx, who won a narrow 1-0 game at Centre during the regular season, scored in just the 5th minute to gain an early advantage.

Centre finally got on the board in the 24th minute, as freshman Sarah Biggs () scored on Savannah Elpers (Louisville, Ky.) assist to level the match.

Senior Brooklyn Bell then netted her SAA-record-setting 20th goal of the season just three minutes later on Emily Schank's helper, making it 2-1 before the half.

Rhodes had an ideal scoring opportunity in the early stages of the second period, drawing a penalty stroke. But sophomore Kristen Mulcahy (Cedarburg, Wis.) came up with a clutch save to keep the Colonels ahead, 2-1.

Sophomore Erika Bell (Louisville, Ky.) scored on an unassisted insurance goal in the 41st minute to push Centre's lead up to 3-1, and senior Hayley Barker (Louisville, Ky.) tallied a game-clinching goal in the final minutes to seal the victory.

Mulcahy turned in a stellar performance, totaling nine saves to tie her career high while finishing with a .900 save percentage. Mulcahy and the Colonel defense have allowed one or fewer goals in each of the last seven matches.

Centre was just the second team to notch four goals against Rhodes all season – the other being nationally-ranked Christopher Newport – snapping the Lynx's eight-game winning streak.

The Colonels will find out their NCAA Tournament fate late tonight. The NCAA will announce the complete field sometime after 11:30 p.m. ET.

For more information on the Southern Athletic Association, please visit www.SAA-Sports.com. You can also follow the SAA on Twitter and Instagram

All-Tournament Team

Centre- Brooklyn Bell (MVP), Hayley Barker, Christine Semple, Kristen Mulcahy
Rhodes- Lizzie Wood, Daryl Perry, Maddie Smith
Sierra Magdeleno, Kasey Sheets
Sewanee- Ceara Caffrey, Katie Wilson
Kennedy Boyer 
Hendrix- Alexis Truitt
Transy- Ellie Domato