The field hockey team soared past their opponents this past week as they went 3-0, including two nail-biting overtime victories. On Tuesday and Thursday, the Cards faced off against non-conference opponents, Mt. Holyoke and Wellesley College, respectively. The team then went to beat NESCAC foe Colby College at home on Saturday.
The Mount Holyoke game was by far the most mismatched, and the Cardinals dominated the entire time, out-shooting the Lyons 24-11, an effort that resulted in an impressive 6-2 victory. Alexa David ’10 was a force to be reckoned with as she tallied five points with two goals and an assist. Four other Cardinals scored, a testament to the depth of this year’s squad.
“We had a strong win at [Connecticut College] to lead into the game and were fighting for our first home win, so we were really pumped up,” said Adrienne Shea ’08. “It was clear at the beginning that we were a much more skilled team, so we took advantage of that and played a very offensive game.”
Wellesley proved to be a much stronger opponent. The first half was very even as both teams had four shots on net. Only Wesleyan was able to capitalize, however, as Hailey Sarage ’09 tipped one in off a pass from Nat Galgano ’11 with about three minutes remaining in the first half.
Wellesley entered the second half as a much more aggressive team, out-shooting the Cardinals 6-1 and gaining six penalty corners while the Cards had none. Goaltender Breen McDonald ’10 held her ground however and was able to stop all but one attempt, which made its way across the goal line with just less than four minutes remaining in the game. Neither team was able to net another goal in regulation time, bringing the game into overtime.
It looked like Wellesley might come away with a win in the opening minute of overtime, as they delivered a hard, quick shot on goal. David, a midfielder, made a remarkable defensive play. She was able to stop the ball on the goal line and clear it out of the crease, averting a disaster.
Wesleyan gained offensive advantage four minutes later and Amanda Nickels ’08 quickly converted as she made a sharp-angled sweep shot from the right wing. The hard-hit ball deflected high off of a Wellesley defender’s stick and into the back of the net. The goal is Nickels’ team-leading fifth of the season.
“The goal was really exciting,” Shea said. “Unfortunately a Wellesley player was injured as the goal was scored so we had to tone down our celebration. But it felt great to win our third in a row and to get an overtime win is always especially rewarding. The game was certainly not perfect and we knew we would have to pick it up for Colby.”
The Cardinals finished up their busy week on Saturday, hosting the Colby Mules. Play was even for the first half and neither team was able to set up any real offensive threat. The half ended scoreless and Colby held a slight edge in shots at 4-3.
The second half, however, was a very different game as the Cardinals came out flying. Jamie Thabault ’11 put in her second goal of the season 15 minutes into the second half off of an assist from teammate Allie Lynch ’11. Colby quickly retaliated two minutes later, tying the game at one with less than twenty minutes left.
Despite the fact that the Cardinals maintained possession for most of the half and out-shot Colby 12-3 (7-3 corners) they were unable to score again, bringing them into their second overtime in three days.
“It was a really long week, we had two midweek games and everyone had midterms so we were really exhausted, plus it was really hot,” said Molly O’Connell ’09.
This time it took longer for the Cards to finish off their opponent. The Colby goaltender had a remarkable 11 saves in overtime before Maddie Rottman ’08 was finally able to put one past her with barely more than a minute left in the first overtime. Lynch, who got her second assist of the day, received a corner hit and tipped it to Rottman who had a clean drive into the net.
“Their goalie was really strong,” Shea said. “She was able to stay in position after a save so even in flurries of shots she was always playing the ball. The whole sideline was really into the game and everyone playing was playing so hard even though it was so hot out. It was the best offensive pressure we have had thus far – we were relentless in the circle and had many more shots than usual. It was really rewarding.”
The Cards have only five games remaining in the regular season, including four important conference games. The win against Colby was the most critical as it brought the Cardinals from 9th place in the conference to 7th. The top seven will make it to the NESCAC tournament. Colby has yet to win a NESCAC match.
“Bates will be really critical for securing a playoff spot,” Shea said. “All of our conference games are winnable though and we would like to play as well as possible to get as high a seed as we can for the playoffs.”
However, the Cards are now focused on their next game against the non-conference Eastern Connecticut Warriors, who the Cardinals are undefeated against. The Warriors are 4-8 on the year and have lost both their match-ups against NESCAC teams this season.