Five Alive: Field Hockey Streaking After Two More Wins

The Raider field hockey team knows only one type of speed, and that speed is cruise control. Every game seems to bring greater enthusiasm and excitement for the Raiders, who have won their last five games by a combined score of 16-3. After beating St. Francis and previously undefeated Lock Haven this week, the Raiders are right where they want to be entering Patriot League play, which begins tomorrow against Holy Cross. In front of an undersized crowd of less than 60, the Raiders handed the Lock Haven Eagles their first loss of the season. The Raiders got on the board at the 6 minute mark when senior tri-captain Kath Shelley scored off a rebound for her fourth goal of the year. The initial shot, courtesy of senior tri-captain Ashley Schneider, was blocked by Lock Haven goalie Melissa Stubblefield. It would be Stubblefield’s only save of the game.The Raiders remained in the lead until the 49th minute, when Mandy Daeschbach scored her first goal of the season for the Eagles to tie the score at one. Junior Sarah McCarthy scored the eventual game-winner for Colgate in the 57th minute, tying her with Shelley for the team lead in goals. Shelley and fellow senior and captain Courtney Collins both assisted on the goal. With her goal and assist, Shelley increased her point total on the season to 14, tops among all players in the Patriot League. Colgate pulled out the win despite the Eagles having twice as many shots and seven more penalty corners than the Raiders. The most significant stat of the game, however, was saves. Sophomore Raider goalkeeper Jacque DeMarco finished with eight saves, increasing her Patriot League lead to 50, on her way to winning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors. Coach Cathy Foto was pleased with her team’s performance against Lock Haven. “[The game was] a tremendous team effort from start to finish,” Foto said. “Our defensive pressure was very tough and I was thoroughly impressed with the play today.” Foto would be equally satisfied the next day, as the Raiders dominated a winless St. Francis team in a 2-0 victory. The final score does not convey the degree to which the Raiders dominated every aspect of play. With the victory, the Raiders improved to 5-3 while St. Francis remained winless and stands at 0-7.The Raider offense drew first blood at the five-minute mark senior Natalie Heller rebounded a Collins shot for her third goal of the season. First-year Natali Plesniarski maintained the offensive attack by scoring her second goal of the season in the 32nd minute off a rebound. Over the last two weeks, Colgate has become a team to be reckoned with. In the first half, the Raiders totaled 22 shots while St. Francis was unable to muster a single shot. Moreover, the Raiders forced 10 penalty corner opportunities as opposed to St. Francis’ zero. That was, however, just the beginning of St. Francis’ offensive futility and the Raiders’ defensive supremacy. The Raiders dominated play in the scoreless second half en route to their fifth consecutive victory, fourth overall on the road. DeMarco did not even make one save throughout the entire game! It was her in recording her second shutout of the season. She has not allowed more than one goal in the Raiders’ last six games. The win concludes a magnificent and perfect 4-0 road trip for the Raiders. “We knew we had to play our game and remain disciplined, especially coming after the win against Lock Haven the day before,” junior Jenn Weisholz said. “We also knew that staying poised on defense on their few breaks down the field was crucial, in addition to initiating as much offense from the backfield as we could.” After eight non-league games to open up the 2004 season, Colgate will finally encounter a Patriot League opponent. The Raiders return home to Tyler’s Field on Saturday when they host Holy Cross at 11 a.m. Heading into the game, the Raiders have the right mentality. “I think we have more heart and determination going into Saturday’s game against Holy Cross than we’ve had for any game of the season,” Weisholz said. “This game will ultimately prove just how far we’ve come as a team since last season, and that we are ready to take on any challenge that comes our way.” We just need to play smart and communicate as much as possible. We know we can win.”