The field hockey team waited over 90 minutes to start its game against Lafayette Saturday because the Leopards’ bus was involved in an accident. Nobody was injured, but it only took the Owls 70 minutes to send them back on the road.
The Owls continued their winning ways at Geasey Field, this time adding a 2-0 shutout to the season’s resume. It was their fourth straight victory, improving them to 8-3. The Leopards dropped to 2-5.
“We are getting better every game, but I still think we can play even better,” coach Amanda Janney said.
The Owls had several chances to capitalize on a slow start from the Leopards, pounding three unsuccessful corners in the game’s initial three minutes. However, Lafayette controlled much of the first half, as the ball remained on the wrong side of the field for the Owls.
Though the first half ended with a series of missed opportunities for the Owls, the second half triggered a scoring revival.
Sophomore forward Dannah Brehm fervently challenged the Leopard defense and notched the Owls’ first goal four minutes into the second stanza. Lafayette nearly countered in the 49th minute, but the strike soared wide.
“They had some big hitters on their team and they were kind of breaking through us – like just drilling the ball down,” Brehm said. “And [Janney] basically was telling us how we can block it up better, because that’s basically the only way they were getting the ball down the field. Once we shut that down, we started playing better.”
The Owls added another goal in the 57th minute thanks to a spin move by senior Alli Lokey. It was her eighth goal of the year and was delivered by Brehm. The Owls out-shot the Leopards 17-6.
While the offense provided the second half highlights, it was the defense’s unsung heroes that anchored the ship. Junior goalie Erin Hanshue was unbeatable in the net, recording her second shutout of the year.
“We’ve been working on just staying really composed and working ogether to get the ball out of the backfield,” Hanshue said, “trying to connect the lines between the defense, the midfield and the forwards all as one unit.”
The stick-handling and defensive poise of Leanne Vogelsong was also noteworthy. The senior weaved through Leopard pursuers and paced the Owls with steady passing.
The Owls are now 5-0 at home and remain at Geasey Field for a game against Rider this evening. Two of their last three games have reached overtime, and the anxiety of such situations might benefit the Owls through the long course of the season.
“It’s straining on our team, but it is really good and positive for us and our future,” Janney said. “That we’re able to come away with some really good wins against some tough teams in overtime – especially to go to double overtime and win – it shows a lot of determination.”
The Owls need this experience as they visit No. 2 Maryland on Sunday. Atlantic Ten Conference play begins Oct. 5 at home against rival Richmond, but for now the momentum continues to build.
“There’s always a higher level, but were definitely playing very well right now,” Hanshue said.
Anthony Stipa can be reached at email@example.com.