By WES HOST
Mary Washington’s field hockey team has a history of excellence. The squad had only one losing season in 2000.
Perfection on the other hand, is a concept that has been harder to attain. The closest they have come is when they went 22-2 in 1993 and were runners-up to Courtland State in the NCAA DIII Championship Game.
This year, the team wants to go a step forward and bring the trophy to Fredericksburg.
Last season, the Eagles went an admirable 15-5, losing to Wesley College in CAC semifinals, preventing them from going to the NCAA tournament.
All-American forward Morgan Jones graduated along with defender Erin Duffy and forward Kaitlyn Ripley.
Freshman Jenna Steele was added to the roster and has ignited the offensive fireworks, tallying 12 goals and five assists. On the defensive side, Haley Kane, a freshman, started on the Eagle’s back line every game.
They avenged last season’s loss to Wesley last weekend, defeating the Wolverines 4-1. While the first half remained scoreless, the Eagles had three consecutive goals in the second from junior Caitlin Baker and seniors Lisa Charney and Florence George.
Fellow senior Amy Stevens was the first to score this season at Lebanon Valley, on Sept. 1.
There, in the waning days of summer, the snowball was formed and dropped down the hill.
There wasn’t much the Eagle’s opponents could do to stop it. More wins came against Roanoke College, Bridgewater College, Lynchburg College and McDaniel College.
They were remarkably strong on the road. They defeated road opponents by a combined score of 22-1 in September. They also defeated Catholic University and Washington College, both of whom the Eagles lost to last season.
The Eagles climbed to seventh in the nation along the way.
On Oct. 6, they had their first loss. They fell to Christopher Newport University, 3-2 in double overtime.
Five days later they played another team they lost to the previous year, Salisbury. The Sea Gulls were currently ranked first in DIII field hockey.
After a scoreless first half, the Eagles found themselves in a pit after two goals by Emily Voshnell in the 45th and 55th minute.
The Eagles responded a minute later with a goal by Charney then evened the score and another minute later with a goal from Steele. Charney scored again at the 68th minute clinching the game.
They defeated St. Mary’s a game later, then Wesley to become the CAC regular season champs.
The next step is the CAC tournament. They play the winner of St. Mary’s and York on Oct. 31. They will likely have a rematach against Salisbury to decide the CAC champion.
The winner of the CAC tournament gets an automatic bid to NCAA’s, which start in Geneva, N.Y. on Nov. 7.