By Andrew Chirico
Heading into a game 0-3, on paper, it seemed that the Shorewomen field hockey team stood no chance in keeping the game intact versus conference foe Johns Hopkins, especially on the road. But that certainly wasn’t the case for WC. The Blue Jays had WC’s number throughout the entire first half by holding the offense just to one shot.
Johns Hopkins got on the in the 30th minute of the first half coming off of a penalty corner off the top of the circle. Elizabeth Davis took WC’s only shot of the first half.
With just one penalty corner in the first half, compared to Johns Hopkin’s seven, it wasn’t looking good for the Shorewomen, especially being down 1-0 heading into the half. The hosts also had an advantage in shots, totaling three more than WC’s.
The second half was similar to the first, with Johns Hopkins keeping the Shorewomen off the scoreboard despite their five shots within the first 15 minutes. With WC gaining some ground on the Blue Jays defense, the Shorewomen started being awarded with penalty corners.
Although WC was finding their shots, they were still down 1-0 with the clock slowly ticking away in an empty Homewood Field in Baltimore. The perseverance finally paid off for WC when Davis scored during the 65th minute mark, tying the game at 1-1 with five minutes to go in regulation. The tieing goal came off of one of WC’s eight penalty corners in the half. Looking back at the goal, Davis said, “It was super exciting to score in the last few minutes of the game.”
Head Coach Rachel Boyle explained how the play ended up working out in favor of her team.
“Liz had attempted a shot that was initially contested. From that point, she played the situation through beating the pressure and took a reverse shot,” Boyle said. “The corner wasn’t drawn up that way, the players have to be able to work off of what is happening within the situation and Liz was able to do that.”
The final five minutes in the half came to an end with the score tied 1-1 for both sides. WC’s two shots in the first overtime came in the first two minutes of a 15 minute period. Johns Hopkins kept the pressure off by taking the two final shots, but were unable to score, leading to a second overtime.
“We had had multiple opportunities to put the ball in the cage, penalty corner execution becomes key in the tight matchups in conference play,” Boyle said. “We work on the execution of specific set piece play and are always looking to capitalize on those opportunities since you are in a numbers up situation – accuracy and timing, getting the right touch, become the keys in making the connection.”
The Shorewomen were awarded with a penalty corner just three minutes in double overtime, but WC was unable to find a good shot. Johns Hopkins then scored the game winning goal of the game with three minutes to go, ultimately giving them a 2-1 victory and handing WC their first conference loss of the season. Davis made it clear that losing their first four games of the season does not mean the team will hang their heads this early on.
“We just have to keep pushing and working hard,” she said. “Our whole team has been pushing themselves to the next level and it’s a great environment to be a part of. We will continue to improve and work hard.”
Fellow senior Jen Tordella feels the same way. She was encouraged to see how the team came out for the game. “We had a ton of energy last night and really had a good vibe going.”
For the future, Tordella is excited to see what further improvements the team can make.
“Moving forward we just have to keep the same energy and bring that same fire we had the last 10 minutes or so,” Tordella said. “We just need to finish and put the ball in the cage. Coach keeps telling us our time will come and I really agree with her. We can feel it.”
Boyle explained the emotions of the team but also noted the importance of not living in the past.
“The team, disappointed with the loss, is determined to move on and get better. They understand that dwelling on outcomes will do nothing to make us rise to the next challenge,” Boyle said. “Every game prepares you for the next game, and that is the mindset of our team.”
The Shorewomen will return to action on Thursday, Sept. 22 with a 4 p.m. home match versus Wesley at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium. A few short days later, WC will travel to Gettysburg for a 1 p.m. Centennial Conference matchup. The game can be viewed online via live-stream on the WC Athletics’ webpage.