Field Hockey Splits Two at Home



The Colgate field hockey team began its 2010 campaign by splitting a pair of games this past week. The Raiders defeated Robert Morris, 5-0, and later fell to Northwestern, 4-1, with both matches played at home on Tyler’s Field.

Offense was certainly the name of the game for the women in their contest against Robert Morris on Saturday. The ladies came out strong, showing off some outstanding ball movement that resulted in sophomore midfielder Lauren Dittman setting up first-year attack Halle Biggar’s goal in the second minute. Biggar would go on to have a very successful debut, as she scored again in the first minute of the second half off of an assist from sophomore defender Adriana Libutti, raising the Raider lead to 2-0.

“Halle has exceptional stick work and a knack for where to be to generate offense,” Head Coach Cathy Foto said. “She is adjusting nicely to the pressure that the collegiate level defensive players will generate.”

Colgate was able to capitalize on errors made by the Robert Morris defense. Libutti quickly put away a deflected shot into the back of the net to give the

Raiders a 3-0 advantage.

It was then the penalty corner unit’s time to shine. Senior midfielder Laura Denenga lead the attack when she scored off a corner in the 44th minute, with assists going to sophomores, midfielder Kendall Zaharris and Libutti.

Denenga struck again in the 57th minute off of another corner, with junior defender Peyton Hawkins earning the assist.

“Our penalty corner unit worked exceptionally hard in the off season to have consistent execution,” Coach Foto said. “The most important factor is generating corners during a match and we were able to do that in this game.”

Denenga’s goal off of the penalty corner would prove to be the game’s final point, and Colgate was able to shut out Robert Morris in an impressive first showing.

Unfortunately, creating penalty corners was something that the women were unable to do in their game against Northwestern on Monday.

The Raiders’ game strategy of capitalizing on corner attempts evaded them, as Northwestern would go on to hold a decisive 12-0 advantage in penalty corners over the course of the game.

The Wildcats challenged Colgate’s defense right from the beginning of the game. Northwestern’s Chelsea Armstrong put one by senior goalkeeper and captain Kirsten Lalli at the 10th minute of the match to give the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage over Colgate.

Three minutes later, Armstrong was able to score again, this time from a Northwestern corner, with assists going to teammates Stacy Uchida and Sarah Marcincin.

Wildcat Sherilyn DeStefano closed the first half with a goal from inside the circle, beating Lalli to her right.

The Raiders played solid defense to begin the second frame, holding off the vicious Northwestern attack for half of the period.

It was with 22 minutes remaining that the Raider defense caved and the Wildcats gained a 4-0 lead, thanks to a goal by Regan Mooney.

Fortunately, Colgate was not to be shut out in this game.

With eight minutes remaining in the contest, first-year midfielder Olivia Nabhan received a perfect cross-field pass from sophomore attack Anna Reddicliffe. After cradling the ball past a Wildcat defender, Nabhan snuck the ball into the goal to put Colgate on the board and make the final score 4-1.

“Losing three starters who had an impact was a difficult challenge,” Coach Foto said. “But I feel that we are fit and ready to challenge all of our opponents.”

Colgate was outshot 38-4 by Northwestern, and only two of the Raider shots were on goal.

Despite the score, Lalli had an impressive game, as she made a career-high 20 saves in the net for the Raiders, a fantastic improvement from her season-high five saves last fall. Lalli’s performance shows much hope for the Raider defense this season.

The Colgate women’s field hockey team will head out on the road this weekend, facing off against Rider on Saturday at noon in Lawrenceville, N.J. While out east the Raiders will also take on the No. 25 Monmouth Hawks, with that match slated to begin at noon on Sunday.