MILLERSVILLE — The No. 1 Shippensburg University field hockey team scored three goals in the first eight minutes Sunday to claim its sixth national championship in school history, defeating No. 3 West Chester by a 3-0 margin in the 2021 NCAA Division II Championship Game at Millersville University.
Shippensburg (20-0) achieved its first undefeated season in the NCAA era (1980-present) and first since an 11-0-2 campaign in 1977. SU has now won 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament games dating back to 2016, including eight straight under fifth-year head coach Tara Zollinger.
“I’d like to congratulate West Chester on a terrific season, and I’d like to congratulate our team, and our leadership group from our senior class who made a decision at the end of our last season that they were going to do everything in their power to make the adjustments that we needed to make to bring the national championship home to Shippensburg,” Zollinger said.
With Sunday’s historic victory, Shippensburg became the first team to win a national championship with an undefeated record since 2010 (Massachusetts Lowell, 24-0) and the first team to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship and the NCAA Division II National Championship in the same season since the 2015 East Stroudsburg Warriors.
Shippensburg’s fast start was all the difference in Sunday’s national championship. Senior Jenna Sluymer (Nieuw-Vennep, The Netherlands/Haarlemmermeer Lyceum, Hoofddorp) slammed home her own rebound to give SU a 1-0 lead less than 90 seconds into the match. Five minutes later, senior Jazmin Petrantonio (Saenz Pena, Argentina/Colegio Nuestra Senora de la Misericordia) rocketed home a corner entry from graduate Caitlyn Wink (Princess Anne, Md./Delmar) to make it 2-0, and less than two minutes after that, a diving reverse hit from freshman Valu Paul (Buenos Aires, Argentina/Instituto La Salle Florida) made it 3-0 in the blink of an eye.
West Chester (17-5) came up short in the national championship game for the first time in its history; entering Sunday the Golden Rams were 3-0 in NCAA Division II championship games and 7-0 overall spanning its timeframe prior to reclassification.
Only six teams scored goals against Shippensburg this season, and only three of those teams scored multiple goals in a game. West Chester scored three goals in the second game of the season, and Coker and Queens (N.C.) each scored twice.
Since the September 26 match against Queens (N.C.), a span of 14 games to conclude the season, no opponent scored more than one goal in a game against Shippensburg.
“Every game and every practice after that, we worked super hard on the basics and just keeping our mindset right and being present,” Wink said. “Everybody really bought into that and agreed, ‘This is not our best, and how can we get to our best?’”
Shippensburg’s 12-person senior class includes players who debuted in either 2017 or 2018. Dating back to the start of the 2017 season, Shippensburg’s seniors combined to post a 68-14 record and claim multiple national championships.
The class is comprised of Wink, Petrantonio, Sluymer, Sarah Womer (Churchville, Pa./Council Rock South), Adrienne McGarrigle (Lititz, Pa./Warwick), Anna Gruber (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch), Jody Boyer (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen), Kalah Williams (Easton, Pa./Easton Area), Meg Thompson (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial), Maddie Reuther (West Chester, Pa./B. Reed Henderson), Lauren Loperfido (Columbia, Pa./Hempfield) and graduate transfer Tori Albright (Landisburg, Pa./West Perry (UConn).
Shippensburg is 16-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has won five NCAA Division II national titles: 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021. Shippensburg’s first national championship in school history came in 1979, when the Raiders claimed the AIAW Division III national championship.
Sunday’s game was the first time that Shippensburg and West Chester faced each other in the NCAA Division II National Championship game. It was just the second time since 1998 that two teams from the PSAC faced each other for the national championship (SHIP defeated ESU in 2018).
Shippensburg senior Jazmin Petrantonio concludes her career with 106 career goals, third-most in NCAA Division II history. Among Petrantonio’s many records is scoring more goals than any other player in the history of the NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships: 10 in eight career NCAA Tournament games.