After Slow Start, Two Wins In Two Games For Field Hockey

Atit Amin

After a slow start to the season in which the Raiders were outscored a total of 9-4 in three games, it’s the Raiders who are outscoring and outperforming their opponents. This also comes after a four-game home stand to begin the season in which the Raiders went 1-3. However, it’s the sense of urgency and the perseverance that has the Raiders back on track during their current win streak. A mix of consistent offense and suffocating defense has teams wary when they Colgate on their schedule. In yet another game in opposition to a non-conference opponent, the Raiders posted their second victory of the season, first on the road, to reach within one game of an even record in a 5-1 rout of Columbia. Senior captain and catalyst Kath Shelley led the offensive onslaught with a goal and a trio of assists to increase her point total of the 2004 season to ten. Colgate got off to a bright start thanks to Shelley who scored three minutes into the game against Columbia goalkeeper Kristina George. Unfortunately, for Columbia, that was just the beginning of better things to come from Shelley. A sheer three minutes later, another senior captain, Ashley Schneider continued her steady offensive production with a goal of her own, third overall of the season, which ties her for the team lead. It was a long day that just seemed to never end for Columbia’s defense and it hardly mattered who was playing goalie. This time, freshman Natali Plesniarski scored her first career goal in the 38th minute and who else than Kath Shelley assisted on the goal. Columbia finally managed to muster a goal of their own as Dana Day scored at the 43:08 mark in the second period. However for the Lions, that just seemed to fuel the fire, as the Raiders piled it on with sophomore Megan Biggar’s first career goal, which was followed up by senior Natalie Heller’s unassisted goal in the 50th minute. The offense has undergone serious changes since the beginning of the season and Coach Foto believes it’s due to a “starting lineup change that is consistently playing better overall offense as well as defense.”The offensive unit of Colgate thoroughly outplayed the Lion defense, as the Raiders finished with a fourteen shot margin. Senior defender Kelly McKallagat believes “our defense can really only be played successfully when team work and communication are employed. We have always had depth of skill in the back field, but now we are really starting to communicate to not only stop the other team’s attack, but also to start our attack; as the old adage goes ‘the best defense is a good offense’. Along with communication discipline is a key to defensive success. Perhaps important to note is that everyone on the field wants to score, that is where the glory is, but it is not everyone’s role to score; our defense realizes that playing disciplined hockey in the 25 is going to win us games. So I guess our defense is all about stepping up on our girls, intimidating the opponent by establishing yourself as a force and being stingy in the circle.” Moreover, sophomore goalkeeper Jacque DeMarco faced a nominal six shots and with a big lead in hand, Coach Foto decided to give time to backup goalie Carolyn Daly, but did not get any opportunities to make a save. On the opposite side of the field, the Lions had their share of goaltending difficulties as Kristina George was pulled after allowing a pair of goals in nine minutes. Her replacement, Andrea Derricks, did not fare any better, allowing three goals in her extended duties. Riding a pair of efficiently executed games, both offensively and defensively, the Raiders hope to maintain their winning ways when they travel to Siena for another non-conference match up on Wednesday, September 15th at 4 p.m.

It seems the Raiders are heeding the proverbial adage, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” After losing their first three games of the season, the Raiders notched their third straight victory against Siena Wednesday afternoon, 4-0. While it may seem the Raiders are a streaky team, they have put together a series of consistent games featuring an overpowering ‘O’ (offense) and a dominating ‘D’ (defense). During their current win streak, they’ve outscored their opponents 12-2. Coming into the game Siena was winless and the Raiders could have as easily let up and taken this game for granted but conversely they demonstrated how far they have come together as a team under the guidance of the veterans. Junior Sarah McCarthy initiated the Raider offense with her third goal of the season, which came at the 18th minute on a deflection from a penalty corner. Senior Natalie Heller assisted on the goal. Freshman Lauren Remkus followed up with her first collegiate goal in the 29th minute to give the Raiders a 2-0 advantage. Remkus was the recipient of senior captain Courtney Collins assist, her third of the season. Heading into halftime, the Raider defense was just as effective, allowing only two penalty corners to Siena. In addition, Jacque DeMarco faced a negligible three shots in the first period. In the second period, Senior Nancy Miller scored her first goal of the season in the 49th minute when fellow senior captain Ashley Schneider sent a pass to Miller on the left side of the net increasing the Raider lead to 3-0. Not to be forgotten, senior captain Kath Shelley closed out the scoring in the 69th minute with an unassisted goal, giving her a team-high twelve points on the season. Playing a nearly flawless first half, the defense had no desire of relenting, merely replicating its play onto the second half. Once again goalie Jacque DeMarco faced three shots, all of which she rebuffed, paving the way to her first shutout of the season and fifth overall of her career. Not only does each victory add to the increasing morale of the team, but also the fact that they are now 2-0 away from Tyler’s Field gives an added feeling of determination. The Raiders seek to improve on their road record Saturday, September 18th when it travels to Lock Haven for a non-conference game at 1 p.m.