Colgate field hockey took to Tyler’s Field for its first game last Sunday, losing to Monmouth University 2-1. The only Colgate goal was scored in the 32nd minute of the second half by first-year midfielder Sara Kongkatong.
The first 19 minutes of the game were tightly contested. Play went back and forth, and remained mostly centralized in the midfield. In the 19th minute, Monmouth broke the deadlock. Hawk red-shirt senior Enza Mazza stole the ball at midfield, glided through the Colgate defenseand slipeed the ball to the right of senior goalie Sarah Pederson, giving Monmouth the 1-0 lead.
In the 22nd minute, ‘Gate saw its first glimpse of a scoring chance when senior Katelyn Nerbonne sent a beautiful through pass to first-year Kendall Zaharris., who skillfully dribbled by three Monmouth defensemen, but her shot went just wide of the net.
After 43 more minutes of competitive, head-to-head play, Monmouth capitalized on another scoring opportunity. Mazza was able to push a pass through to first-year Michelle Pieczynski, who hit a long drive from about 14 yards out to put Monmouth up by a score of 2-0.
It was in the 67th minute of the game that Colgate was finally able to get on the board. First-year Sara Kongkatong recovered a loose ball on the left side of the goal and promptly cracked a shot that beat Monmouth keeper Melissa Katz.
“It was a surprise, but a pleasant surprise. It was nice to be able to get a goal for the team,” Kongkatong said.
Pedersen made three consecutive point-blank saves at the end of the game to keep the score fixed at 2-1.
The biggest story of the game, however, may have been missed scoring opportunities off of corner hits. The women earned nearly four times as many corner opportunities as Monmouth, but had difficulty converting those opportunities into goals.
“I’m confident that with a little more practice, we should be able to score off of corner hits more often. That will definitely be crucial to our success,” senior captain Mika Ella-Tang said of the corner chances.
Coach Cathy Foto also believes that these chances to score are important, as the team has been diligently practicing corners since spring session. Even though the chances were not realized, the effort made to improve the corner hitting unit has definitely paid off with new stopper Katelyn Nerbonne and hitter Laura Denenga operating as a cohesive duo.
“The timing on corners is really important to execution, and that was their first game doing it,” Coach Foto said. “If we can continue to generate corners, I’m sure we will find success.”
Coach Foto had more to say on the team’s success in finding its way to the corner.
“Generating corners and shots is always positive. We look fit and we have a strong foundation to build on.