By GRACE WINFIELD
The University of Mary Washington field hockey team fell short on Nov. 1 as they lost 1-0 against Christopher Newport University in the CAC semifinal game. UMW (11-8) knew the challenge they were up against when they were set to face CNU (16-1). Losing to the fifth-ranked Captains 4-3 in regular season, the Eagles were a decided underdog in the matchup.
UMW entered the game with a mission to attack, but the Eagles quickly realized that a strong defense must become the team’s top priority in order to further maintain a competitive performance.
Senior midfielder Allegra Massey-Elim’s shot at the thirty-fourth minute was put to a halt with a quick save by CNU’s goalkeeper Stephanie McKinney, leaving the first half scoreless in a defensive struggle against CNU.
The score remained tied 0-0 until CNU freshman Courtney Fiest’s second-half strike. With an assist from Jackie Kotoriy, Fiest came through with the game’s lone goal off a penalty corner in the fifty-eighth minute.
With the season on the line, UMW responded quickly and put forth an outstanding effort during the game’s final ten minutes.
After being subbed in at minute 57, freshman Bella Urcia attempted a shot that was batted by the Captain’s McKinney. Within a minute, sophomore forward Lexie Dixson shot a tip along the right pipe, but McKinney managed to successfully complete the back-to-back saves.
UMW remained competitive until the final minute of the game, but CNUs lockdown defense proved to be a force just too strong to be reckoned with. The Captains made a tackle at midfield to prevent an initial run before gaining possession and running off the last remaining seconds of the game.
“We should’ve scored, but at times scoring can be difficult because it’s all based on timing. If you’re a second too early or late it can have you miss a tip in or an open scoring opportunity,” said junior goalkeeper Jessie Cavolt.
“Overall, we worked well together and the ball movement up the field was the best I think we’ve had all season. Our team’s biggest strengths are defense and our ball movement up the field,” said Cavolt.
CNU held a 10-6 advantage in shots and a 6-1 lead in corners. Cavolt came through with six saves for the Eagles, McKinney with four saves for the Captains.
The loss puts an end to the Eagle’s 2017 field hockey season.
“Our team was disappointed with the result but happy with how we played,” said Cavolt. “The loss wasn’t disappointing solely because it was CNU, but also because making it to the final would’ve given us the opportunity to compete for an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.”
Getting an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament is extremely difficult, especially in the CAC.
With a double-overtime win over Salisbury in the CAC championship, CNU was rewarded with a first-round bye and the opportunity to open the NCAA Tournament at home as CNU will host second and third-round games beginning on Saturday at Captains Turf Field.