By Andrew Chirico
On a hot, humid, and muggy Saturday afternoon non-conference match, the Washington College field hockey team wasn’t able to hold off Stevenson University, losing 2-1.
With a heat index rising over 100 degrees to start the game and the Shorewomen wearing their home black uniforms, weather was certainly an issue. “The heat was definitely a huge contributing factor to the overall play with both teams just because it can slow you down after a while,” senior Jen Tordella said. “But we really tried to stay hydrated and our coaches, training staff, and players on the bench really did an awesome job bringing us cold rags, Gatorade, and bags of ice to cool us down during breaks.”
It was all Stevenson early as they scored during the 15 minute mark, giving them a 1-0 lead. The Mustangs kept their offensive pressure up and it took the Shorewomen nearly 20 minutes to record their first shot, which came off the stick of Tordella. During that play, the referees rewarded WC with a penalty stroke, which was then it was revoked and turned into a penalty corner and resulted in a scoreless possession for the remainder of their offensive possession. Neither team would score a goal in the remainder of the half, and Stevenson went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
WC came out firing in the second half, taking four shots off of three penalty corners, but they were unable to get on the scoreboard. With an anxious home crowd holding umbrellas to block the sun beaming down directly on them, the tension was starting to rise.
Senior Elizabeth Davis came to answer the drought and she scored her first goal of the season off of a penalty stroke, and, most importantly, evened the game at 1-1 in the 38th minute. Stevenson took advantage of a misplayed pass by the WC defense and ended up scoring their second goal of the game making it 2-1.
With 15 minutes to go, the Shorewomen were inches from tying the game when sophomore Natalie Theriault banged a shot off the left post of the goal, which ended up back in Todella’s possession. During that same possession, Davis had an open look on the goal coming from a penalty corner, but the Mustangs’ goalkeeper was able to keep the ball in play.
The Mustangs went on to record three penalty corners in the last six minutes, which slowly drained the clock and gave them the win. The loss put WC 0-3 on the season. The Shorewomen had their fair share of opportunities, totaling for 19 shots, 11 of them being on goal. They also were able to earn 13 penalty corners. Despite the loss, Tordella is happy to see the improvements the team is making. “I think today’s game really showed how our energy is really moving in the right direction as a team and the things we are focusing on practice lately are really showing some major improvement in the game,” she said.
Head Coach Rachel Boyle is satisfied with her team’s performance. “I felt that we played well – we showed our abilities on many occasions today and we remain in a position where we are creating many opportunities. We really pushed strong coming off of halftime —I was pleased with that.”
Although WC dropped its first three games of the season, Boyle reflected on what the team was able to get out of their first three games.
“We have certainly learned a lot in our early season games and there is a ton of season,” she said. “It’s incredibly important to focus in on the play itself, where we can execute better and keep our energy committed to the process of executing consistently at our level of capability.”
Luckily for Boyle, the Shorewomen have nearly a week off and play their next game this Friday, Sept. 16 when they travel to Johns Hopkins for their Centennial Conference opener. Tordella is looking forward to the first opportunity at taking one step closer to the tournament.
“We will just keep doing what we are doing and treat that game just like any other. JHU is a great team and we are really excited to compete again. It should be fun,” Tordella said.
When asked Boyle how the team will prepare for the matchup, she said “With making some minor adjustments, improving our decision making in some key situations, we will be ready for our conference opener.”