After defeating Roger Williams University on Sunday, Oct. 2 for only its second win of the season, field hockey has once again found itself in the loss column. On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Cards, still in search of their first NESCAC win, traveled to Colby to take on the Mules. Unfortunately, that first conference win will have to wait as the Cardinals were shut out 4-0, marking the sixth time this season that the Cards have been kept off the board.
The win against Roger Williams definitely gave the Cards the confidence they needed on the field, as they came out ready to play against the Mules. In the first half, the Cardinals outshot the Mules 7-6 and were awarded five penalty corners compared to the Mules’ three. Despite the Cardinals’ numerous offensive opportunities, it was the Mules who took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
“The team came out strong, but we lost momentum in the second half, especially when they scored their second goal,” captain Emily Hart ’17 said. “We had a fair amount of opportunities, but we really need to capitalize on those shooting opportunities so we can shift the momentum in our favor.”
Unlike the first half, where the Cards came out ready to play, they were caught flat-footed at the start of the second half. The Mules took advantage of this and continuously pounded the offensive zone.
“During the first part of the Colby game, we came out very strong and controlled the game,” captain Lauren Yue ’17 said. “We made Colby react to everything that we were doing.”
The second half was the complete opposite of the first. The Cardinals were only awarded one penalty corner and were unable to get a shot off. On the other hand, the Mules had five penalty corners and took 10 shots on netminder Claire Edelman ’17. Despite Edelman’s six saves, the Mules eventually broke through. In the span of 30 seconds, the Mules scored two quick goals and took a commanding 3-0 lead. Five minutes later, they added one more to round out the scoring and claimed a decisive 4-0 win.
“We need to work hard for the entire 70 minutes,” Yue said. “Just because we are doing well does not mean that we can sit back and assume we have control of the rest of the game.”
This is a key takeaway for the Cardinals as they get set for one of their toughest weekends of the season. The Cards will first take on Little Three rival Williams on Saturday, Oct. 15, and then they will face defending NCAA DIII Champion Middlebury on Sunday, Oct. 16.
“We watched film[s] of both Williams and Middlebury, and we are practicing a new formation for both of those games,” Hart said.
While Hart would not divulge what the new formation is, one can guess it incorporates a faster pace of play with the hopes of it leading to more opportunities on offense. Despite not having beaten Middlebury since 2000, it is safe to say the Cardinals’ primary focus this weekend is on Williams. Any athlete on this campus will tell you a game, match, or meet against a Little Three opponent always has the feeling that there is something else on the line besides just a win, and this is no different for the field hockey team.
“The Little Three games are always more competitive than a normal NESCAC game,” Yue said. “That being said, we compete hard in every game, but the Little Three games have a little extra competitiveness tacked onto them.”
Of course, two wins this weekend would be a dream come true for the team, but, for the seniors, their primary goal this weekend is beating the Ephs.
“A win against Williams would be outstanding, and it’s definitely an achievable goal,” Hart said.
Yue agreed, mentioning that a win in this category would be a first for her.
“Obviously it would be amazing to win the Little Three,” Yue said. “We have not done it in my time here at Wes, and it has been a goal of mine since freshman year. We need to work hard and work together to compete. If we just focus on the game and leave the field knowing that we did all that we could, then that is all I can ask for.”