By SARAH PARK
While the children of Fredericksburg were trick-or-treating, the UMW Field Hockey team was engaged in battle against Stevenson University. The Eagles came out victorious as they easily defeated the Mustangs 4-2 in the first round of the CAC Tournament.
The last time the Eagles faced Stevenson, the cards were stacked against them.
“When we played [at Stevenson], [their field] was carpet turf, which is faster than our grass,” Head Coach Dana Hall said. “The field was smaller, and it was [the Mustang’s] home game, giving them an advantage.”
Despite these disadvantages in the previous game, the Eagles still won 2-1 in overtime. However, that win was not satisfying enough to the team.
“We knew they were a good team, but we were better,” junior midfielder Kaitlyn Ripley replied. “For this game, we wanted to win in regulation time.”
At the start of the game, the Eagles went right to work. It only took a mere four minutes for junior midfielder Morgan Jones to drive in a goal to initiate the Eagles’ momentum. From then on, the pace of the game was set.
Ten minutes later, the ball found its way to Ripley’s stick from a pass from freshman Caitlin Baker, resulting in another Eagles goal.
After halftime, junior Morgan Jones set up sophomore midfielder MacKenzie Sloan provided with a pass that Sloan put through the net for an insurance goal for UMW.
However, despite the Eagles early statistical dominance, the Mustangs were determined not to quit. 15 minutes into the second half, freshman midfielder Leigh Willing was able to find a gap in the Eagles’ defense and scored off a pass from senior Jennifer Sauers during a penalty corner.
But the Eagles weren’t rattled, as less than a minute later, Ripley answered right back with another goal to revitalize the Eagles’ energy.
With 20 minutes left, Stevenson senior midfielder Katelyn Monocheh drove in a goal to keep the Mustangs in the game a little longer. However, the Mustangs were unable to find the cage again, as UMW got the regulation victory they hoped for.
The Eagles were able to rack up 25 shots on goal compared to a mere six from the Mustangs and drew 13 penalty corners to just four for the Mustangs.
The Eagles then turned their attention to their next opponent, the St. Mary’s Seahawks. The last time these two teams clashed, UMW outshot the Seahawks 9-3 and had 19 corners, but it was St. Mary’s who narrowly escaped with a win after scoring a goal with 1:14 remaining.
“A mistake was made in the second half, and we reviewed [the mistake] and made adjustments,” Coach Hall said. “Sometimes, the best team doesn’t always win. Anything is possible in the game of hockey.”
Along with training hard for their rematch against St. Mary’s, the team is also getting pumped.
“We want revenge,” Ripley said. “And if we win, then we get to play Salisbury in the finals, which is what we want.”
The Eagles hit the field at St. Mary’s last night, Nov. 3, in the CAC semifinals. UMW won the game 1-0 on senior Kristen Haynot’s goal to advance to the tournament championship.