Field hockey continues pursuit of first victory

Field hockey (0-3, 0-2 in the NESCAC) dropped its second straight NESCAC contest on Saturday, falling to Trinity 3-1. With relentless offensive pressure, the Bantams banged home three first-half goals, a margin that proved to be insurmountable for the Ephs despite a late goal from Cary Hairfield ’15. On Sept. 10, the women lost a non-conference game to Keene State 4-1.

Both teams battled evenly for the first 10 minutes of play before Bantam Casey Quinn broke the deadlock with an unassisted penalty corner goal at the 11:08 mark. Trinity’s offensive momentum persisted as it netted another unassisted goal just over three minutes later. The Ephs struggled to maintain possession and could do little defensively to keep the Bantams out of their offensive zone. Despite the Bantams’ pressure, which culminated in six first-half penalty corners for the Bantams, co-captain and goalie Ariana Spiliotes ’14 had several key saves that kept the Ephs alive. Just before halftime, however, Trinity’s Nikki Rivera scored the third goal on a penalty corner off assists from Sophie Doering and Courtney Wynne. The strike came at the 25:49 mark in the first half, giving Trinity a 3-0 lead. The Bantams ended the half with confidence, holding a commanding lead. In the first half, Williams managed just two shots to Trinity’s nine and one penalty corner to Trinity’s six.

After the first half showing, Head Coach Alix Barrale ’93 made some personnel changes, including substituting Spiliotes and putting Nina Kumar ’16 into net. As the second half began, the Bantams’ offensive attack continued but was finally stymied by strong, hard-nosed defense from Jaclyn Porfilio ’15, Katie Gallop ’17 and Allie Holle ’17, as well as a few solid saves by Kumar. The Ephs also stepped up their game offensively in the second half, as they spread the field and communicated better in response to quick and aggressive double teams by the Bantam defenders. Finally, the changes came to fruition when Hairfield found the back of the net, putting home a rebound off an initial shot by Kit Rosen ’17 at the 52:10 mark in the game.

The women continued to play hard throughout the closing minutes, but as the seconds dwindled away, so did any chance of a comeback. The team maintained a positive outlook for the season, especially after the well played second half.

“Trinity was the tale of two halves,” Barrale said. “In the first half, we were dribbling into Trinity’s sticks, missing tackles, not communicating effectively and out of position in our defensive circle. We needed to generate more offense by using the give-and-go passes down the sidelines. In the second half, we made better decisions and did not panic under pressure – rather, [we] passed more effectively and were able to handle the ball in transition. We were also more threatening in the offensive circle, and Hairfield scored a beautiful goal off an assist from Rosen. Kumar came up with some big saves on penalty corners and Gallop’s speed and quickness helped us defend Trinity’s fast breaks.”

The women also competed on Sept. 10, as they fell to Keene State in an out of conference match-up by a score of 4-1. Keene State scored two unanswered goals early in the first half and later expanded its lead with aggressive play throughout the game, taking 20 total shots on goal. The Ephs refused to roll over, however, even outshooting the Owls in the first half 9-8 and amassing 11 penalty corners for the game. Annie VanWagenen ’16 finally broke through Keene State’s back lines for the Ephs, capitalizing on a penalty corner 50:20 into the game. The women struggled to mount a comeback late in the game, however, down two players due to yellow cards. The Owls scored two additional goals in the second half to make the final score 4-1.

“I have seen many improvements from one game to the next,” Barrale said. “Our positioning, ball handling, anticipation and hustle (to name a few) are improving. We need to concentrate on playing each minute of the game with intensity and purpose. I am looking forward to greater success against future opponents.”

The women next play tonight at 6 p.m. at Union and then have their home opener on Saturday at 12 p.m. against rival Amherst.