It would be easy for the members of the field hockey team to feel dejected after a season-ending loss Friday.
The Owls were sent packing after a 2-1 overtime loss to top-seeded Richmond at the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament, in Richmond, Va.
Despite exiting the tournament in the first round for the third straight year, coach Amanda Janney and her players still managed to stay upbeat.
The Owls took consolation in their 13-7 overall record, their best mark since 1991.
“I think we played pretty well together,” senior defender Megan Hannahoe said. “We wanted it, but I don’t think we really lacked in anything. It was a great way to end my four years here having the best record yet and I’m really happy [with] how we did this year.”
“We wish the results would have been a little better later in the season, but we are so happy with the records and goals of the season,” Janney said.
After a scoreless first half, both teams came out swinging in the final 35 minutes.
Just more than seven minutes into the second half, the Owls (4-4 in the A-10) struck first with a deflected ball that squeaked into the cage courtesy of freshman forward Kasey Ruth.
The Owls looked to preserve the lead as opposed to striking again, and this might have proved costly down the stretch.
“We tried to keep possession of the ball, and make some different plays to where we guaranteed possession of the ball, but it didn’t work,” Janney said.
As the second half winded down, it appeared as if the Owls would finally break the Spiders’ A-10 dominance. That was, until a case of deja vu plagued the squad.
Reminiscent of the Owls’ home overtime loss to Richmond (16-4 overall, 8-0 in the A-10) in October, the Spiders netted the game-tying goal with less than a minute to play, sending the game to overtime.
The momentum of the game switched in Richmond’s favor. The Spiders’ Shannon Taylor notched the deciding goal 4:44 into overtime off of a corner set up by Jodi Murphy and Jess Weidner.
Junior midfielder Alli Lokey, recently named to the A-10 First Team, said she knows how close her team really was to an upset.
“We stick to our game plan,” she said. “We play how we need to play. It’s just a lot of times it’s a matter of being calm and playing the whole 70 minutes.
“We played well, we did what we needed to do, [but] we just couldn’t score and couldn’t hold it out.”
Players and coaches alike concurred that next season will have its share of highlights as well.
“We know that we can beat them, beat Richmond,” Lokey said. “We can beat anyone. We have to come back with the mentality that we can, and know how hard it is to be sitting here right now knowing that we could have beat them and that we could be in the championship.”
Janney intends to use this loss as motivation for next season, as her team returns losing only Hannahoe.
“We learned good lessons and we know that we are going to be a better team next season.”
Anthony Stipa can be reached at email@example.com.