It was a tough weekend for the women’s field hockey team as it dropped two games at home, losing first to Central Michigan 3-0, and then falling 3-1 to Rider.
The match against Central Michigan was highly anticipated, as Colgate sought revenge for a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Chippewas last season. Payback was not the case on Friday night however, as CMU came out strong and controlled possession for most of the game. The Chippewas placed themselves in numerous scoring opportunities with a combination of crosses and through balls to the middle of the field.
The play of the game came in the 14th minute, when a diving save by senior captain and goalie Pedersen resulted in a penalty shot for the Chippewas. The stadium was hushed and the tension was certainly felt by every spectator, but Pedersen confidently kicked away CMU senior back Liz Gericke’s shot to preserve the 0-0 tie.
But Central Michigan’s patient exploitation of the Colgate defense came to fruition in the 25th minute when Pedersen left the net to make a save. First-year CMU midfielder Erin Dye slid the ball into the open goal and broke the 0-0 deadlock.
After the goal, the Lady Raider’s seemed to begin to click and created scoring opportunities for themselves from some beautiful runs up the sidelines by junior midfielder Laura Denenga. Denenga would use her speed and stick skills to blow by the Central Michigan defense and then cross the ball in front of the Chippewas net, only to go largely untouched.
“The teams we played this weekend play a tight zone defense below the 25,” Head Coach Cathy Foto said. “The only way to get the ball in against that is to work it across. The long passes either have to go through too many people, or are hit so hard that no one can get a stick on it. Hopefully, some video will help us see where changes need to be made.”
The game remained tight until the 56th minute when CMU’s Kelly Johnson scored off of a corner hit, and then again in the sixtieth minute from a drive that sailed into the upper corner of the goal.
The game against Rider on Sunday was much of the same story for the Raiders who, although losing, did see some good opportunities to score.
After tightly competitive play, Rider opened up the scoring drought with three goals coming from sophomore forward Megan Pisani, sophomore midfielder Virginia Egusquiza and junior midfielder Lindsay Rajesky.
‘Gate struck back in the sixty-second minute, however, when senior midfielder and captain Katelyn Nerbonne capitalized on a corner hit. She picked up the ricocheted shot at around the eight-yard mark and drove in the shot on the ground past Rider senior goalkeeper Lyndsie Johnson.
Pedersen had another spectacular game between the goalposts. She had five saves on the day, but even more impressive was the leadership that she exhibited. She could be heard in the stands giving direction to teammates and encouraging them if a mistake was made. It is actions like these that help to build great teams in the long haul and Coach Foto agrees.
“With a new defensive unit, it takes some time for them to get comfortable and Sarah’s knowledge of the game will help them put the pieces together sooner, rather than later,” Coach Foto said. “Her leadership has already been a key factor in helping them progress in each game we’ve played.”
With the long home stretch over, the team heads out on the road to face Yale and Maine this weekend.