Despite many opportunities, the Cardinals were unable to find the back of the net against the Continentals

After upsetting formerly 12th-ranked Tufts 3-2 on Sept. 29, the Wesleyan field hockey team hoped to carry the momentum into its next NESCAC game on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Hamilton. The Cardinals had not lost to the Continentals in the teams’ first four meetings. That all changed after the Cardinals were shut out for the third time this season by a score of 3-0.

“The Hamilton game was a really tough loss, especially coming off of Tuesday’s win,” said Captain Caitlin Majewski ’16.

The Continentals jumped out to an early 1-0 less than five minutes into the contest on a well-timed shot from junior Merisa Dion. About 13 minutes later, Eva Rosencrans of Hamilton beat Wes goalkeeper Sarah Grundy ’16 to add to her seven-goal tally on the season. Just like that, the Cardinals found themselves staring at a 2-0 deficit less than 20 minutes into the contest. The Continentals would add one more in the 55th minute, a nifty tap-in from senior Casey Brown en route to the team’s third NESCAC win and sixth win of the season. Sara Grundy ’16 had eight saves in net for the Cardinals.

Although the Cardinals only had five penalty corners compared to the Continentals’ 10, they had their chances, but were unable to capitalize. Over the 70 minutes, the Cardinals had 13 shots on goal, but none ever broke the plane of the goal line.

“Last Saturday was definitely a setback and it was very disappointing that we couldn’t find the goal in the offensive circle,” said Captain Hannah Plappert ’16. “We have been really focusing on that in practice this week, so we are confident that we’ll see better results this weekend.”

With only six games remaining on the schedule, the Cardinals know that every game is crucial in their quest to make the NESCAC playoffs. Out of those six games, four are against teams currently ranked above the Cardinals in the NESCAC standings, which means the squad has the potential to improve in the standings and increase the likelihood of securing a playoff berth.

“It truly is any team’s game on any given day in the NESCAC,” Majewski said. “I think we need to move on from last Saturday, remembering that we are a capable and strong team. Every game in our league is tough, but we have the potential to be very successful in our next six.”

This coming weekend, the Cardinals will be physically and mentally tested as they get set to play two games in two days. First they will host Colby on Saturday, Oct. 10 at noon. While the Cardinals hold a 13-7 head-to-head edge over the Mules, eight of the 20 games have been decided in overtime or by a shootout. In addition, the Cardinals are only one spot ahead of the Mules in the NESCAC standings, so Saturday’s game has important playoff implications.

“We expect a great game on Saturday,” Plappert commented. “Colby is always a great match for us, so we are excited to prove ourselves after last weekend.”

The Cardinals will have to make a quick turnaround as they return to Smith Field the next day, Sunday, Oct. 11, to take on third-ranked Middlebury at noon. Although the Cards have lost 15 straight games to the Panthers, including playoffs, they know how to play spoiler and upset a top-ranked opponent.

This season has been up and down for the Cards, but beating Bates last year, one of the biggest wins in the team’s history, will fill the squad with optimism as the business end of the season approaches.

“It could be anyone’s game on any given day,” Plappert stated. “We are going to come out as strong as we can and fight the entire game. We would be absolutely thrilled to come out of this weekend with two wins.”

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