By EVAN HICKS
The University of Mary Washington field hockey team lost 4-1 to Salisbury University last Saturday, Oct. 1. The No. 1 ranked Sea Gulls squad made quick work of the No. 17 Lady Eagles, as Salisbury scored the first four goals of the game and never looked back. The loss dropped UMW to 9-3 overall and 2-2 in Capital Athletic Conference play, while Salisbury improved to 10-0 on the season and 4-0 in the conference.
Salisbury dominated offensively from the start and they controlled the flow of the game. The Sea Gulls’ Courtney Webster scored six minutes into the game, and Salisbury went on to add two more goals to their lead in less than 90-seconds in the middle of the first half. Not content with a 3-0 advantage, the Sea Gulls scored again, despite the best defensive efforts of several Eagles’ defender who tried to dive in the way of the shot.
“We did not show up to play the first half. We just got the ball to other team, which is not going to win you games,” UMW Head Coach Lindsey Elliott said. Elliot also added that she stressed the importance of “playing a passing game” to her team at halftime.
UMW found their rhythm in the second half and played even with the top-ranked Sea Gulls. As the second half progressed, the Eagles began to take better control, and with eight minutes left in the game, junior midfielder Florence George scored off an assist from sophomore Caitlin Baker. The goal came off a penalty corner shot, and helped UMW avoid being shutout. Despite the better play after halftime, Mary Washington couldn’t overcome its first half struggles.
“We’ve consistently been a second half team,” Elliot said. “Obviously, the score was a little rough. It takes someone scoring on us to pump us up. We knew that we couldn’t lose four [to] nothing.”
UMW led in penalty corners, with nine to six, but Salisbury outshot the Eagles 16-8. Mary Washington junior goalkeeper Claire Gianelle did her best to limit the damage induced by Salisbury’s offensive pressure, and managed 10 saves in the loss.
As the game went on, the stands filled with more fans as UMW students came out to cheer on the field hockey team. One particularly enthusiastic fan was even ejected from the field by the head official. George said that the boisterous crowd roused the Eagles team spirit.
“It helps when there’s more people here,” George said. “You want to show them that they’re helping,”
The head official made several unpopular calls that drew the ire of Eagles fans, but George maintained a sportsmanlike attitude about the questionable calls, and didn’t use them as an excuse for the Eagles play.
“The audience is never going to agree one-hundred percent,” George said. “They did miss some calls for us, but they also missed some calls for [Salisbury], so I feel like it shouldn’t matter.”
The UMW field hockey team got back on the field last night when they took on Christopher Newport University at home. Mary Washington won a 3-2 overtime game to knock off the 15th-ranked Captains. Junior Florence George had two goals including one in overtime to win the game. Junior Claire Gianelle had 12 saves.
The Eagles remained upbeat following the Salisbury loss, and now after a rebound win set their eyes on their Sunday match against Virginia Wesleyan College at 2 p.m.