This past Saturday, the field hockey team honored its three seniors and captains, Amber Bruckner, Blair Ingraham, and Taylor Wells, before taking on Middlebury in the final home game of the season. Unfortunately, the game put a damper on the celebration, as the Cards suffered a tough 3-1 loss.
“I thought we put up a good fight,” Ingraham said. “They’re a great team.”
In the early stages of the game, the play moved swiftly up and down the field, with both teams alternating good opportunities to take the lead. Wes’ defense played well throughout the opening half, and the Cardinals were able to take control on offense and eventually strike first. Ingraham crossed the ball into the circle to Bruckner, who redirected it to the back of the goal, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 advantage.
Wesleyan was looking to enter the break with a lead, but with fewer than 10 seconds left to play, the Panthers were fouled in the circle and awarded an extended penalty corner. The Cardinals had to clear the ball out to enter the half up one, but they were unable to do so and the Panthers were able to capitalize on the Cardinal miscue. The score was tied up at the end of the half.
Heading into the second half, the momentum stayed with Middlebury. Though the Cardinals controlled the ball well, the Panthers got off eight shots and beat goalie Sara Grundy ’16 twice, walking away with the 3-1 win.
“It was nice for us to score first, but we really want to work on getting it down next time,” Ingraham said. “We are the kind of team that is scaring other teams, but we can’t get the job done, and we need to do that; hopefully we will see them again in the playoffs and take it to them.”
Despite the loss, the Cardinals clinched a spot in the NESCAC tournament. The Cards are now two games ahead of the ninth-seeded Bates, Conn College, and Hamilton with one regular season game to play. The Cardinals are tied with Williams for the seventh seed with identical overall and NESCAC records of 5-8 and 3-6, respectively. If both teams win or lose their last games, the Ephs would claim the seventh seed and the Cardinals the eighth due to the Ephs’ win over the Cardinals earlier this season. No matter what, the Cardinals will travel to play one of the top two teams in the conference, which could be Amherst, Bowdoin, Middlebury, or Tufts.
The last game of the regular season for the Cardinals will be on Wednesday, Oct. 30 when they travel to take on Conn, which has a record of 3-10 and 1-8 in the NESCAC.
“We are hoping to come out really strong in our next game,” Ingraham said. “We are playing a team that is currently below us in the standings, so we really want to take it to them. We will show the league that we are a force in the league, and that we are ready to come out strong in the playoffs.”