The eleventh ranked University of Mary Washington field hockey team won a pair of matches this weekend to improve to 8-2 this season. After they rose victorious against Capital Athletic Conference foe York College 6-3 last Saturday, the Eagles continued their crusade through Eastern Mennonite University on Sunday, Sept. 25, defeating the Royals 7-2.
“We were definitely tired [going into Sunday’s game],” sophomore forward Caitlin Baker said. “Our schedule has been pretty tight this whole season.”
However, Head Coach Lindsey Elliot had confidence in her team going into Sunday’s game.
“Our conditioning levels are great,” Elliot said. “The girls are in great shape, so I wasn’t concerned in them playing back-to-back.”
Less than six minutes into the game, the Eagles earned a penalty corner where Baker found the back of the net from a pass from junior midfielder Florence George. The goal seemed to set the pace for the rest of the game.
George continued to set up her teammates for success as the Eagles persisted to strike. Sophomore forward Brenna Hill scored off another George assist minutes after the first goal. Shortly after Hill’s first goal, the UMW sidelines celebrated again as Hill scored the eventual game-winning goal unassisted.
Before the end of the half, George made her tenth assist of the season when she set Baker up in position to score again. Senior forward Kaitlyn Ripley racked up her first goal of the game off a pass from freshman defender Amy Abernathy to make the score 5-0.
“We worked on trying to create fast break opportunities,” Elliot said. “I think with our games on Saturday and Sunday, it showed that that’s what we’ve been looking for.”
The Eagles sustained the pace of the game into the second half. Abernathy, anxious for a goal of her own, found a gap in the Royal’s defense and scored her first collegiate goal for UMW. Despite the Eagles’ statistical dominance, EMU had a brief surge of energy as freshman Jenessa Derstine answered Abernathy’s goal unassisted to get the Royals on the board. Derstine’s teammate, junior Adriana Santiago, continued Eastern Mennonite’s momentum, scoring her third goal of the season off a penalty stroke.
However, Eagles freshman forward Christine Downie revitalized the UMW offense by scoring a security goal off an assist from junior forward Amy Stevens. The Eagles maintained their poise and held onto the lead until the final whistle.
UMW’s offense outshined EMU’s as they led in shots on goal 23-18 and penalty corners 15-10.
“Our coach has really been focusing on scoring and finishing and that’s how we’re able to score seven goals.” Baker explains.
In the UMW’s defensive end, junior goalkeeper Claire Gianelle’s prowess in the net kept the Eagles in the game with 11 saves compared to the seven by EMU’s sophomore goalkeeper Mary Beth Danaher.
“Claire’s doing a great job,” Elliot said. “She is still a little timid back there, but I think she’s definitely stepping up.”
Elliot is now focusing on the next big hurtle of the season: defeating Salisbury. Elliot helped the Seagulls win three NCAA national championships, once on the field as a two-time All-American forward and twice off the field as an assistant coach for four years.
“It’s going to be interesting, to say the least,” Elliot said. “I’m excited about it, and hopefully, we’ll be able to knock off the number one team in the nation.”
The Eagles swooped back into action last night, when they hosted CAC rival Hood College but the game ended too late for results to be included in this issue. The next test for UMW will be the aforementioned battle against Salisbury University on Saturday, Oct. 1.