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The Blue & Gray Press | December 16, 2017

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Field Hockey Wins CAC Title

Field Hockey Wins CAC Title

The Mary Washington Field Hockey team snatched the Capital Athletic Conference Championship from the Wesley College Wolverines last Saturday in a 2-0 victory.  There was a large crowd present to cheer on the Eagles, including Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Searcy and his family.

Mary Washington had faced Wesley earlier in the season with another decisive victory of 2-0. The Eagles really wanted this win and knew they could attain it.

“We had a good chance of winning because Wesley knocked Salisbury out.  We had already beat Wesley early in the season,” said junior midfielder Morgan Jones.

Head Coach Dana Hall said that the team did not prepare differently for this game than any other.

“We beat them 2-0 last time.  We stuck to our game plan,” Coach Hall said.

However, the Wolverines put up a strong fight and prevented the Eagles from scoring in the first half.  The Eagles fought back and kept the score tied 0-0.

In the first half, Mary Washington outshot Wesley seven shots to three.  After halftime it seemed that the game would go into overtime because neither team could capitalize on numerous opportunities to score.

Wesley took 10 shots and Mary Washington took nine.  With about 11 minutes left in the game, junior midfielder Kaitlyn Ripley sailed a shot past Wesley’s goalie, Sarah Johnson.

“We had a lot of good opportunities and I knew I had to get it in,” said Ripley.

All the Eagles had to do was prevent Wesley from scoring, and they would be CAC champions.  But Wesley did not give up, taking 13 penalty corners in the second half compared to the Eagles’ six.

This was a great improvement for Wesley, having only two corners in the first half while UMW took five.

“Defense played awesome,” Ripley said.  “Wesley had so many corners and defense did what they had to do and they cleared the ball out so the midfield and offense could get it down the field.”

The defense was successful in keeping the ball away from the goal.  With less than two minutes left in the game, Jones clenched the victory with a penalty stroke.

“I had to put it in and this would seal the deal.  I had to do it or they could’ve scored,” Jones said.

The team had some difficulties earlier in the season, but they came together to clench the CAC title.   Junior forward Erin Duffy said this game was a strong team effort.

“We had really strong defense and we could finish on the front line,” Duffy said. “Everything came together in the post season.  We focused on things as a team.”

Coach Hall believed the team played a fantastic game.

“We played together,” Coach Hall said. “We won as a unit.  We moved the ball as a unit.”

An award ceremony followed the game to present the team its earned championship plaque.  The Eagles battle Salisbury University on Wednesday, Nov. 10 in the Division III NCAA.

image courtesy of Clint Often