Double Down: Field Hockey Team Drops Two In A Row

Atit Amin

In a game that had first-place implications in the Patriot League, the Colgate field hockey team learned the hard way why American remains on top of the league. The Raiders were overmatched and outsmarted by the Eagles, who posted their 12th straight victory, 5-2, and in the process denied Colgate the chance to win the league title. In front of a large Family Weekend crowd, the Raiders were unable to impress their followers, and as a result suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since the beginning of the season. The day began ominously for the Raiders as an integral part of the defense, first-year Heather Greene, was injured during warm-ups. It was indeterminable as to the cause of the injury, but it was significant enough to force her to miss part of the first half. The Raiders, compelled to play without a third of their starting defense, nevertheless were still able to make due. A mere minute into the contest, junior Sarah McCarthy scored her eighth goal of the season off a penalty corner to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead. That offensive series, however, was half of what the Raiders would be able to produce for the remainder of the game. Successive American goals from Denise Infante, Maggie Hall and Camila Infante put the Eagles ahead for good. Aside from McCarthy’s goal, the Raiders were unable to attain any shots or corners in the first half. This was a direct result of the Eagles’ overpowering defense and Raider mistakes on offense. The second half was much of the same, as the Raiders simply could not keep up with American. Despite junior Dana Shaner’s second goal of the season in the 53rd minute, the game was still out of reach for the Raiders. American then received insurance goals from Heather Maranzano and Camila Infante to seal the win. The lone bright spot for the Raiders was sophomore goalie Jacque DeMarco, who played an outstanding game despite allowing five goals. She denied an American penalty shot, in addition to making a career-high 33 saves. Were it not for her remarkable play, the score could have easily been in double-digits, considering American had 51 shots (38 on goal) and 24 penalty corners. Head Coach Cathy Foto agreed,”Jacque DeMarco kept us in the game early with her saves and of course the save on the penalty stroke,” she said. “Scoring first and putting the pressure on them was a great accomplishment. It is the first time that a Colgate team I have coached has ever played a team ranked that high and I think that our team came ready to play and made them adjust to us. I was extremely proud of how everyone prepared during the week and how they played during the game.” The two Raider goals were the team’s only shots in the game, requiring American goalie Allison Fayfich to make no saves. The loss dropped the Raiders’ record to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in the Patriot League, while the Eagles improved to a perfect 5-0 in league play. The games did not get any easier for Colgate, however. In another game versus a nationally-ranked opponent, the Raiders fell against 20th-ranked Syracuse, losing 3-1 Wednesday night at Coyne Field. Although the game had no implications for the Raiders in regards to the Patriot League Tournament, a win would have been a substantial morale and confidence booster. Nevertheless, there are always positives you can take out of a game, even if it is a loss. Despite being heavy underdogs, the Raiders put their best foot forward in the match against the Orange. Syracuse struck first, only four minutes into the contest, when Joanne Lombard converted on a penalty corner that snuck past DeMarco. Aside from that, the first half was played very evenly and the Raiders when into halftime down only 1-0. In the second half, the Raiders maintained their poise and stayed with the Orange step for step. However, because the game was so closely contested, only one opportune moment was needed for the momentum to swing to one team. Unfortunately, it went the way of the Orange, as Paige Sullivan scored the decisive goal in the 46th minute to give her team a 2-0 advantage. As they have done all season long, the Raiders fought an uphill battle and actually cut into the lead one minute later. Senior tri-captain Ashley Schneider scored her team-leading 15th goal of the season, assisted by Shaner. Regrettably, it the team’s only goal of the evening, and the Orange sealed the deal in the 52nd minute on a goal by Ashley Fry. The game was too close to call, as Syracuse held a one-shot advantage and had a one-penalty corner edge. Additionally, five days after making a career-high 33 saves, DeMarco stopped four shots while her counterpart, Betsy Wagner, made seven saves. In order to become one of the elite teams in the Patriot League, the Raiders have to learn from their mistakes, and the women intend on emulating their opponents. “We have gone over in practice several things that we needed to work on, including quick restarts with the ball and being patient and poised on defense,” Junior defender Jenn Weisholz said. Also, we need to be hungry on offense and take advantage of every opportunity we get, because there might not be too many. We need to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes as well as maintain discipline on defense.” The Raiders seek to transmit those uplifting and optimistic spirits on Sunday, when they travel to the University of Maine for their regular season finale.