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The Blue & Gray Press | February 21, 2018

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Field Hockey ranks high in division, stays undefeated

Field Hockey ranks high in division, stays undefeated

field-hockeyBy ADAM HAGER

The University of Mary Washington field hockey team remains ranked sixth in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III National Coaches poll, as they advance with an undefeated season.

On Tuesday, the Eagles defeated Randolph-Macon College with a 7-1 win at the Battleground Athletic Complex, leading in shots, 38-11.

Last Thursday, also on Eagle territory, the team conquered Washington & Lee by a score of 7-0.

The Eagles (3-0) opened the scoring early and never looked back as they cruised past the Generals (1-2) on the warm afternoon at the Battleground Athletic Complex.

Led by sophomore Kathleen Namey and freshman Ashlin Jones, who each scored twice, the team dominated Washington & Lee in all aspects of the game.

Two goals in the opening four minutes by Namey set the pace for the Eagles, who were able to capitalize early and often on penalty corners.

“We did some great things against Washington & Lee. Our passing looked great and we were successful on our corners,” said head coach Lindsay Elliott.

Three more goals in the first half by Caitlin Baker, Christine Loehr and Carlee Budd gave the Eagles a 5-0 advantage going into half-time.

In the second half, the Eagles did not look back. Jones added two goals during the first 11 minutes to leaving no doubt about the winning outcome.

The 7-0 score put the Eagles at a 25 goal differential in their first three games, only giving up a goal in a 13-1 game against Hendrix College, from Conway, Ark.

“Scoring 26 goals in our first three games is great,” Elliott said. “The girls are taking advantage of scoring opportunities and making them count. It has also been a team effort, which is great.”

Two late penalty corners for the Generals gave them a chance for a goal or two late in the game, but saves from Megan McLaughlin kept the clean sheet for the Eagles.

Junior Christine Downie controlled the sideline for the Eagles, consistently winning 50-50 balls and finding open teammates in the middle of the field.

“I feel that we played well today. However, we always have areas that we need to improve on. Right now we are really working on doing the little things well,” Downie said after the game.

The first home game drew between 40-50 students, and many stayed for both halves.

“I’m excited to see how our team does this year. We have a really good team returning,” said junior Caitlyn Denkler.

Senior Collin Overacker, another student in attendance, added, “We’re just really good. And I like watching our athletic teams dominate.”

Coming off a season that landed the Eagles in the NCAA Final Four, expectations are high this year, and the team is showing they have what it takes to have another successful season.

“We have several returning players who experienced the Final Four last year and who want to get back there. We plan to just take it game by game,” Elliott said.

The Eagles will take on Bridgewater College on Tuesday, Sept.17 at 4 p.m. at the Battleground Athletic Complex.