---- — LOWELL — West Chester University scored three goals in the opening 16 minutes and never looked back en route to a 5-0 victory over UMass Lowell Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Division II field hockey championship at Cushing Field.
With the loss, UMass Lowell, making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA title match, ended its season with a 19-4 record.
West Chester, which defeated the River Hawks, 2-1, in last year’s NCAA championship, improved to 20-2.
“It stings, but we are very proud of what we accomplished this season,” said head coach Shannon Hlebichuk, who earned her 200th career victory with Friday’s 2-0 semifinal win over Merrimack. “Looking back at our body of work this season, I am very proud of this team.”
Hlebichuk is 200-50 in 11 seasons.
UMass Lowell had three players named to the All-Tournament Team: senior Sarah Wilcox, junior Rachel McCarthy and freshman Jenna Freitas.
West Chester’s defense held the River Hawks without a shot on target until the 63rd minute when Freitas’ attempt was saved by senior GK Kristin Arnold.
“I felt we played more inspired in the second half,” Hlebichuk said. “I thought we had a couple of good chances and I thought we might slip one in, but we needed a little bit of luck today.”