While the win was nothing like the team’s 2010 10-2 rout of Eastern Connecticut State University, on Wed., September 16th, the field hockey team scored two goals late in the second half to secure a 2-1 comeback win against the Warriors and get back to .500 on the season. With the win, the Cardinals maintained their unblemished record against the Warriors, extending it to 8-0.
For the first 35 minutes of play, both teams struggled to settle in and find their rhythm. While the Warriors controlled possession throughout the majority of the first half, they only outshot the Cardinals 5-2, and both teams were awarded two penalty corners. The lone threat came in the last seconds of the half when the Warriors were awarded a late penalty corner. Although the horn had blown, signaling the end of the half, the Warriors were allowed to play out the corner. The insertion was a clean one to the top of the circle. The ball was then passed to the left side of the circle for a shot that found the upper half of the net. The Eastern fans were ecstatic, but the goal was wiped off after the officials determined that the shot was too high. And so, at the end of one, the score remained 0-0.
“We talked at halftime about playing with pride and playing in a way that you could be proud of when coming off the field,” said captain Hannah Plappert ’16. “Midweek games are always tough, and I think the first half we kind of struggled with getting amped up.”
The second half picked up where the first half had ended, with the Warriors constantly attacking and putting pressure on the Cardinals’ defense.
“We played defense the whole game,” said Head Coach Patti Klecha-Porter after the game.
In the opening five minutes of the second half, Sara Grundy ’16 and the Cardinals’ defense stayed strong and perfectly defended three consecutive penalty corners. After only playing 13 minutes since the restart, the Warriors were awarded their eighth penalty corner of the half and 10th of the game. The Warriors’ insertion pass went to the top of the circle where the ball was controlled and shot past Grundy to break the score and give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
After a Wesleyan timeout, the Cardinals resumed play with a new sense of urgency. Less than 10 minutes after the Warriors took the lead, the Cardinals were awarded their first corner of the half and did not squander their chance. Tess Iannarone ’18 inserted the pass to Abby Warren ’19, who teed up the ball for a hard low shot that found the back of the net tying the score at 1-1.
“The confidence we got from our goalie making a great save led to us getting a great goal,” said captain Michaela Celella ’16. “After that, everyone stepped up and felt better about themselves. I think we need to come into games feeling more confident, especially after a win like this.”
The Cardinals were not done. With six minutes to play in regulation, the Cards got their second corner of the half. This time it was Plappert on the receiving end of Iannarone’s passes, but the result was still the same. With Plappert’s third goal of the season, the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead that stood until the final horn sounded.
“Thank heavens we have the great corners,” Coach Klecha-Porter said. “We are going to have a lot of success because of those.”
The Cardinals have a few days of much-needed rest and practice to sharpen their passes as they get set to open NESCAC play at NCAA Runner-Up and Bowdoin, currently ranked second, on Sat., Sep. 19 at 11 a.m.
“It’s definitely going to be a quicker game since the ball moves so fast on their turf,” said captain Caitlin Majewski ’16. “I think reception is key, connecting with each other, and definitely staying low because that was one of our problems in the first half against Eastern.”
In three games this season, the Polar Bears are averaging 27 shots per game, so if the Cardinals look to contend on Saturday, they will need to stay strong on defense and find a way to create offense against a very fast team.
“We are excited to be in such a competitive conference and Bowdoin is one of the best teams in the conference,” Plappert said. “We’re privileged to have such a great schedule, and we are excited to see how we compete against them.”