Last weekend, the field hockey team looked to ride the momentum from its season-opening victory over Roger Williams. The team took on Babson College in its home opener on Friday, then hosted perennial powerhouse and 10th-ranked Wellesley College on Sunday. Despite valiant efforts, the Cardinals fell short in both affairs and dropped to 1-2 on the season.
In their first home game of the season against the Babson Beavers, the Cardinals fell 2-1 in an extremely competitive match. With the win, the Beavers improved to 4-0 on the season. Lizzie Horwitz ’19 scored her first career goal as a Cardinal while Sarah Grundy ’16 recorded nine saves and let up two goals.
After the tough 2-1 loss, a repeat of last season’s fixture with the Beavers, the Cardinals looked to bounce back against Wellesley College, a team they had not beaten since 2011.
The Blue set the pace early, and dominated the first 35 minutes of play. The Cardinals were on the back foot for almost the entire half, and would not take their first shot until the 43rd minute of play.
Although the Blue was awarded seven penalty corners and put six of its nine shots on net in the first half, Grundy would not let a single ball break the goal line.
“I think it is important to remember that Wellesley is ranked 10th in the country right now,” said Captain Caitlin Majewski ’16. “We really held our own in the first half.”
After 35 minutes of play, zeroes still showed on the scoreboard, but one had to wonder how long would it be before Wellesley finally put one past Wesleyan’s busy netminder. It didn’t take the visitors too long in the second half to make their pressure count.
A little over four minutes after the restart, the Blue found yet another opportunity on a penalty corner, and this time it didn’t waste it. The insertion pass came in, the ball was centered at the top of the circle with another pass, and in the blink of an eye, the sound of hard plastic hit the wooden board at the back of the cage.
Less than two minutes later, the Blue had another corner, and once again found the net. Just like that, in a span of 112 seconds, the Cardinals were down 2-0. But squad was not going to go down without a fight.
The Blue had some quality looks on its first offensive threat of the day, but the team responded quickly, adding a third goal with 16:54 remaining on the clock.
“I thought it was a great fight,” said Captain Hannah Plappert ’16. “We had spurts of energy and definitely picked it up in the second half. We did a really great job of going down their throats in the last 10 minutes.”
The Cardinals indeed pressed on the attack and looked like a completely different team in the final 10 minutes of play.
They finally got on the board with 9:20 remaining on took their fourth penalty corner of the night. Lauren Yue ’17 inserted the pass to Plappert at the top of the circle, who then nudged the ball to Abby Warren ’19. Warren took a shot that was redirected by Yue into the net for her first goal of the season, but Wellesley would hold on to their lead, and the game finished 3-1 in their favor.
Yue’s successful shot was the only one the Wellesley goalie faced all day, so she finished the game with zero saves while giving up one goal.
“We absolutely think we have the tools and the chemistry on the field to get the ball in the cage,” Plappert said. “What we are going to focus on in addition to give-and-goes is reception. We are in the right spot at the right time, and we know what our teammates want us to do. We just need to really focus on finishing and getting it in the cage.”
While the Cardinals applied relentless pressure in the last 10 minutes, they know that if they want to win games and be competitive with the strongest teams, they need to bring that intensity the entire time.
“We have to play 70 minutes like we played our last 10 minutes,” said head coach Patti Klecha-Porter after the game. “We can’t wait to see what the score is in the final minutes of a game and then decide now we have to play. Seventy minutes of energy, concentration, focus, all that. If we do that, I really believe in my heart that we will be the team that is going to scare everybody.”
The Cardinals will have a couple of days to regroup before they host Eastern Connecticut State University on Wed., Sept. 16th at 5 pm. The two teams will meet for the first time since 2010 when the Cardinals won 10-2. They have a 7-0 all-time record against the Blue Cats.