The Mary Washington Field Hockey team remained undefeated last Saturday afternoon when they defeated their Capital Athletic Conference rival, York College of Pennsylvania, 3-0.
The Eagles have been incredibly dominant this season, averaging 4.6 goals per game, while allowing their opponents to score an average of only one goal per game. Their match up with the York College Spartans, however, got off to an unusually slow start.
UMW was unable to find the back of the net, despite controlling the ball on the offensive end for almost the entire first ten minutes of the game. It took four penalty corner opportunities for the Eagles to crack York’s impressive defensive efforts.
With 20:25 remaining in the first half, senior captain and midfielder Florence George lined up a penalty corner and passed the ball to her line-mate and co-captain Lisa Charney. The pass was perfectly placed on Charney’s stick, and the senior midfielder made it look easy as she rocketed the ball past Spartan’s goalkeeper Alanna Curtis.
“We make good connecting passes,” George said of her on-field relation with Charney. “I usually know where she’ll be, and I can always pick out her stick on the field.”
The George-Charney connection would be the Eagles’ only goal of the first half. With only a one-goal deficit at the half, the Spartans had their sights set firmly on an upset. Eagles head coach Lindsey Elliot, who was disappointed with her team’s lackluster start, had other ideas.
“It was a rough first half,” Elliot said after the game. “We were playing slow, and our passing game wasn’t quite there at first. We just needed everyone to play together.”
Elliot’s team rebounded and had a strong showing in the second half.
Less than ten minutes into the second half, the Eagles peppered York’s defense with three straight penalty corner opportunities. After successfully defending the first two, the third proved to be too much for the Spartans to handle.
Shortly after George hit the ball into play, a scrum developed in front of the net, causing a mad scramble for possession of the ball. It was freshman defender Haley Kane that ultimately wound up with the ball and redirected it into the net.
Kane’s goal put the team up 2-0 early in the second half, but the Eagles weren’t quite done yet.
With just under six minutes left to play, freshman forward Jenna Steele found a hole in the defense and exploited it for a breakaway opportunity. With just the goalie to beat, Steele skillfully knocked the ball into the net for the Eagles’ third goal of the match.
York failed to score before time expired, making the final score 3-0 in favor of Mary Washington. The Eagles have shut out their opponents in half of their games so far, which has Coach Elliot extremely pleased.
“One of our team goals this season was to have more shutouts than we had last season, and we’ve already accomplished it through eight games,” Elliot said. “Our defense was challenged today, but they’re a key part of the team that is sometimes overlooked, since they aren’t the one putting up all the statistics.”
George knows that her team’s defense was key not only to their victory over York, but also their success on the season as a whole.
“Every team has the potential to score at any moment,” George said. “We know that we can’t let up for even a minute, which is why we play with a sense of urgency.”
Tuesday in their game against Catholic Univeristy, the Eagles continued to be relentless. They narrowly defeated the 8th ranked Cardinals 2-1.
Unlike in the game against York, both teams attacked early. All of the goals were within the 19-minute mark.
11:49 in, Steele scored via a Caitlin Baker assist. Catholic continued to tie the game five minutes later with a goal from freshman Hayley Wright yet the Eagles responded just seventeen seconds later with a goal from sophomore Courtney Rampey. Coach Elliot said, “We had a tough battle against a top opponent in Catholic and came out with the win.” She later described the win as a total team effort.
The Eagles will continue their conference play when they go to Frostburg State University this weekend.