By WESLEY HOST
The Mary Washington field hockey team went into last Saturday’s game, Oct. 16, against York College, looking to trounce their conference foe. The Eagles came out aggressive and went on to beat the Spartans 5-2.
The Eagles scored a pair of early goals to quiet the Spartans early and set the tone. On an early advance in the sixth minute, senior Heidi Sheehan passed to junior Kaitlyn Ripley, who then ripped the ball towards the goal. After the ball seemed to weave through several Spartan defenders, the ball finally trickled just past the line. The goal was disputed by York, who thought the ball didn’t cross the line, but the referees met and confirmed the original ruling to put the Eagles up 1-0.
The Eagles didn’t sit on their lead, as four minutes later, UMW struck again. Ripley set up junior Morgan Jones, who then rocked the ball across her body into the left side of the goal.
The Eagles continued the intensity throughout the opening half. Freshman midfielder Caitlin Baker was the mosquito in York’s ear, finding seams, dizzying defenders and creating opportunities for the UMW offense.
With 14 minutes left in the half, York senior goalkeeper Maggie Schauch landed on the ball on an Eagles offensive, which resulted in a penalty shot for UMW. Eagles senior defender Kristen Haynor then floated a shot to the upper left corner of the goal, past Schauch, to establish a commanding 3-0 lead for UMW before the half.
The Eagles didn’t miss a beat after halftime, as just seven minutes into the second half, Jones got the ball in the box and danced around York defenders before sending the ball to the back of the net once again to push the UMW lead to 4-0.
After intermission, the Spartans seemed to awake from their first half lull. York was much more assertive in the second half and managed to scrape across a couple of goals. If not for Haynor and senior Nicole Conti’s goal saving clearances from the box, York could have further trimmed the UMW lead.
Junior Brittany Simmons got the Spartans on the board with her penalty shot with 19 minutes remaining in the game, after her shot hit off the outstretched stick of Eagles sophomore goalkeeper Claire Gianelle and into the goal.
The Eagles responded with another Jones backhand goal from a Haynor pass just three minutes after losing the shutout bid. The goal was Jones’ third of the game and gave her the first hat trick of her career.
York added a late goal when senior Casey Lawrence snuck a shot underneath the leg of Gianelle with two minutes remaining in the game.
The victory improved the UMW field hockey team to 4-1 in CAC play with three games remaining, two of which are conference match-ups.
“[I was] happy with the teams performance. We finally came together on the field,” Haynor said.
A CAC championship is within sight, but while it may be tempting to look ahead, Coach Hall said they need to take it, “day by day and game by game.”
The team’s next game is a Homecoming match against St. Mary’s College of Maryland, their last home game of the season.