A two-goal comeback in the second quarter fell short of propelling field hockey to victory against the St. Joseph’s Hawks. The team experienced a 4-2 loss for their first fall of the season.
“I am very proud about the way we battled back from 2-0 to 2-2, but I was disappointed in our overall work rate,” head coach Andy Smith said. “They seemed hungrier than us. If we want to be at that level, we need to do what they are doing, but do it better.”
The Red, touting an untarnished 2-0 record in their early season, was not prepared for the offensive intensity that No. 14 St. Joseph’s brought to Dodson Field. Just seven minutes into play, the Hawks eclipsed a goal to send the Red to an early deficit.
A 1-0 lead for the Hawks did not dissipate their fervor. A penalty corner by St. Joseph’s materialized into another goal for the Red’s top-20 competitor, placing them at a comfortable two-goal advantage.
This deficit, however, did not last long; rather, the disadvantage appeared to kindle the Red’s competitive spirit. Less than a minute after the Hawk’s second tally of the day, junior midfielder Taylor Gladd, assisted by junior midfielder Maddy Conklin, sent a shot to the back of the net, closing the scoring chasm to 2-1.
Senior midfielder Kirsten Pienaar channeled the Red’s renewed offensive spark, capitalizing on a penalty corner with three minutes left in the half to tie the game at two.
“On the offensive line, we are looking to keep finishing on our scoring opportunities,” junior forward Grace Royer said. “We are focusing on working as a unit.”
The Hawks would not relinquish the lead that easily, however. With just 41 seconds left in the first half, St. Joseph’s answered the Red’s neutralizing goal and pushed their scoring advantage to 3-2.
The second half proved to be another opportunity for the Hawks to flaunt their offensive prowess. Just five minutes into the half, the Hawks marked yet another tally, widening the scoring gap to 4-2.
A strong defensive showing from the Red in the fourth quarter impeded further scoring attempts from the Hawks.
“Our corner defense is getting better and better,” Royer said. “Our press was adjusted this past week to keep the Hawk’s defense from transitioning quickly.”
Despite a rapid firing of shots and a multitude of penalty corners on both sides in the second half, the score remained stagnant at 4-2, much to the dismay of the Red.
“We did some great stuff but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” Smith said. “We didn’t work hard enough as a team. We felt that we had beaten ourselves.”
The Red will not let an early loss derail the rest of their season, nor take away from their prior victories. Under Smith’s coaching philosophy, the loss is a learning experience, and it will be used as fuel to tackle their upcoming competition.
“We had a golden opportunity today to beat another top-15 ranked team and we didn’t take advantage of that,” Smith said. “We will regroup as a team and make sure that when we go out on the field next, we will put a better product on the field. The best way to learn and get better is by playing games.”
The Red seeks a more favorable result next Monday when it goes head-to-head against Lafayette. The showdown will take place on Dodson Field at 4 p.m.