The Red heads into this weekend as it has every other weekend this season; focused and ready to play. However, the field hockey team is hoping to reverse its recent streak of luck and bring home a victory.
“We definitely want to win,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “We’ve been on the losing end of some tough games. But I believe you make your own breaks, and we’ve shot ourselves in the foot a few times.”
Hornibrook and the Red will try to break this pattern against Villanova tonight and Rutgers on Sunday. The Red suffered a close, controversial 2-1 loss to Brown and got shut out by Uconn, 6-0, last weekend. The Red goes into the weekend with a 2-11 (1-5 Ivy) record. With three games left in the season, the team is hungry to improve its record.
Villanova will not be an easy opponent for the Red. The Wildcats have had a back and forth season, and stand at 10-7 (2-2 Big East).
“They’ve had some really good results against some good teams,” Hornibrook said. “They’ve also had games against lesser ranked teams that make you say, well, that’s kind of funny. It’s hard to say what to expect.”
The Wildcats ended a three-game skid last weekend with a 6-1 win over LaSalle. This was the 100th career win for head coach Joanie Milhous, and showcased a dominating and versatile attack by the Wildcats.
“Obviously, they’re a really strong team,” Hornibrook said. “We’ll have to bring out best game, no question.”
Villanova is led by sophomore Megan Foster, who notched two goals against LaSalle and leads the team in goals scored. Three other players recorded goals in that game, with four different players chipping in with assists. This multi-faceted attack poses a serious challenge for the Red defense.
“We’ll try to force more turnovers and play more aggressive defense,” Hornibrook said of the Red’s strategy. “We’ll try to use the midfield to pressure the ball and get them on the counterattack.”
The Red will face off against the Scarlet Knights on Sunday. Rutgers is 5-12 (1-4 Big East) this season, and has had similar fortunes recently. The Scarlet Knights fell to Rider, 3-2, in overtime on Tuesday night. And while the Red face-off against Villanova tonight, Rutgers will be playing Lafayette.
Rutgers features a balanced offense, with six different players scoring at least two goals this season. But the Red has had all week to prepare for the Scarlet Knights’ attack.
“The team is excellent,” Hornibrook said. “They come to practice every day, and whatever we’re focusing on, they throw themselves into it.”
The women have worked all season to get the offensive and defensive lines working together as a cohesive unit. Despite close games, the team has struggled to finish around the net and convert penalty corners to goals. Hornibrook hopes the team will be able to bring all these components together tonight in Philadelphia.
“The focus is not on our record but on what we need to do well and how to play well,” she said. “The results [this season] have been disappointing because we’ve been in the games. We’d like to go into next season with a few wins and knowing we can win the close games.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer