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Traynor Helps Kutztown Win National Championship
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2023-11-21

            The moment Kutztown University's field hockey team earned its spot in the NCAA Tournament, the players announced that they were going to win, according to Jessica Traynor. She said they were determined to show they belong.

Jessica Traynor, a 2023 Upper Perkiomen

graduate, holds Kutztown University's

national championship trophy.

            "It's a mindset," Traynor said.

            Last weekend, the freshman from Pennsburg helped the Golden Bears capture the Division II national championship. Kutztown defeated two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference opponents to secure the university's only NCAA title.

            The midfielder played in all 22 games and made five starts overall. She finished the season with five goals and 21 shots on goal.

            Traynor started both games at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. The midfielder received significant playing time in a pair of 2-1 victories over No. 2 seed Shippensburg and No. 1 seed East Stroudsburg 2-1 on Nov. 17 and Nov. 19, respectively.

            The impact of the accomplishment didn't hit her until the team, which set a school record in wins (19) and shutouts (14), returned to its Berks County campus Sunday night. The team bus, which received a police escort for the final leg of its journey, was greeted at its destination by cheering friends and other athletes.

            "I was in shock," said Traynor, a 2023 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School. "It didn't feel real right away. We were so excited to get to that point. All of our hard work paid off."

            According to Traynor, the Bears (19-3) believed they deserved an opportunity, since they posted several victories against quality opposition and that their only two regular-season losses came against Shippensburg and East Stroudsburg. After suffering a 1-0 overtime loss to the Raiders in the PSAC playoffs, they opened the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Pace at home on Nov. 11.

            In the national semifinal victory over Shippensburg on Nov. 17, Mackenzie Kile's goal on a penalty corner with two minutes remaining sent the Bears to the championship game.

            Traynor opened the scoring with her fifth goal of the season late in the first quarter to force a 1-1 tie.

            Two days later, Traynor helped Kutztown, the No. 3 seed, rally for the title against the Huskies. Down 1-0 late in the third quarter, she registered a shot against Huskies goalkeeper Amy Supey.

            Jillian Buchman gathered the rebound and beat Supey with a shot to force a 1-1 tie for the Bears, who capitalized on a two-player advantage. Less than seven minutes into the fourth quarter, Greenleigh McGehee delivered the decisive goal on a penalty corner during a scrum.

            "Once we scored that goal it hit us that we were going to win," Traynor said.

            Early on, she saw limited action at right midfield. However, an injury midway through the season forced Traynor to the other side of the field.

            After shifting to the left side, her playing time only increased. Traynor started five of Kutztown's final 11 games.

            "It's crazy to think that I could come in as a freshman and be part of all this," she said. "We all wanted to win a national championship, but we knew it would take a lot of hard work."


 

 

 

 

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