The field hockey team opened conference play this past Saturday hosting reigning NCAA DIII National Champions Bowdoin College.
Despite never giving up, the Cardinals fell short to the Polar Bears, 3-0. The Cards fell to 1-1 on the season, while the Bears kicked off their 2014 campaign to repeat with a win, moving to 1-0.
“It’s a great start to the season; I think Bowdoin is a great team, and we were right there with them,” said Captain Hannah Plappert ’16. “It’s a shame because we don’t really feel that the score reflected our play.”
Three minutes into the game, the Bears had their first penalty corner of the contest. With a clean setup off the inbound, the Bears quickly took the early lead as the ball deflected off the post and into the back of the net. Ten minutes later, the Bears found themselves in a similar situation, on another penalty corner. Once again, the Bears prevailed and led the Cards 2-0.
After giving up the second goal, Head Coach Patti Klecha-Porter called a timeout in an attempt to stop the bleeding. The Cardinals, feeling rejuvenated, went on the attack for the first time. Plappert had a great look off the Cardinals’ first penalty corner of the game, but the Bears’ goalie made a terrific stop to deny the Cards.
“I think we had some opportunities that we really missed because even in the first half for about 10 minutes we were in our offensive end after they scored their quick goals,” Coach Klecha-Porter said. “Give them credit, those are goal on corners and [we were] outnumbered.”
The Cardinals’ best opportunity came at about the midway point in the first half. After moving the ball well and discombobulating the defense, the Cardinals took the shot and found the back of the net. Everyone on the sideline started to cheer, thinking that the Cards had cut the lead in half. To everyone’s surprise, the goal was called back due to the fact that the ball had made contact with a Bowdoin player’s stick on its way to the goal. According to the NCAA rules, “A goal will only be awarded when an attacker within the circle plays the ball legally. [FIH Rule 8.1 “Own Goal” will not be in use.]” During the offseason, the Federation International de Hockey (FIH) decided to remove Rule 8.1, which stated that own goals would count.
Besides the goal that was disallowed, the Cardinals did not have many opportunities on offense, being out shot 19-5 and managing only three penalty corners compared to the Bears’ eight.
“I think we had our ups and downs,” said Captain Anna Howard ’15. “There were times when we played really well as a team and had our moments, and other times [when] we kind of played more as individuals and it definitely showed, which was a bummer.”
Despite the loss, Coach Klecha-Porter was pleased with the effort, highlighting the depth of the Cardinals’ bench.
“Our subs did a really nice job coming into the game and changing the energy when needed,” Coach Klecha-Porter said. “Sometimes when you have substitutions there is a lull in the play, [but] I didn’t think so, I think they actually picked up the play.”
Before heading up to Boston to face Wellesley College on Wednesday in what will be the first of four straight games on the road with two in conference and two out of conference games, the Cardinals will be returning to the practice field for some fine tuning.
“We expect to definitely work on [our] mini-skills like communication, talking with each other, knowing where each other are [on the field], reception, moving up to the ball, and if we blunder, not just stopping and getting down on our selves but keeping the momentum going.” Howard added.
Plappert has high hopes for the team as it enters this four-game road trip and looks to get back into the win column.
“We know what we have to do and work on,” Plappert said. “For us, it’s about playing with more confidence and taking control and setting the pace of the game, which I think will be easy for us to do in these next couple of days.”