Field Hockey Continues to Struggle, Loses to Lehigh

Alyssa Tamburrino

Hoping to turn around their luck in Patriot League play, the Colgate field hockey team lost to Lehigh University by a final score of 4-1 in Bethlehem, PA.

The game remained close well into the first half, until Lehigh was able to capitalize off of a defensive mistake by Colgate. 19 minutes into the game, a Colgate defender attempted to stop a sure shot from going in by blocking it with her foot. This action is considered to be a deliberate foul, as it unnaturally obstructs the ball from its true path, and therefore a penalty shot was awarded to Lehigh. Taryn Hartzel stepped up to take the shot for the Mountain Hawks, and easily put it by senior goalkeeper and captain Sarah Pedersen.

Lehigh continued the scoring in the first half as ten minutes later Morgan Christopher redirected a rebounded shot from point blank range.

After receiving their pep talk at half time, the ladies seemed to come out with increased energy. Numerous corners were produced, and finally in the 48th minute, junior midfielder Laura Denenga was able to drive home her fifth goal of the year off of a set up by senior midfielder and captain Mika Ella-Tang, putting the score at 2-1. Not just your average corner hit, this play had some pizzazz.

“Mika and Laura were able to combine on a new corner play that we drew up and it was nice to see them connect,” Coach Cathy Foto said. “We had a number of corners in the game, and this play was not one we traditionally use and it was nice to see it work.”

The corner-hitting unit has come to be a particular high note for the Raiders this season. Composed of a veteran core, the ladies have been able to achieve offensive success altogether more than shots that the team takes collectively from the field. The practice that the unit has put in is obvious in observing the multiple trick plays that the women have perfected and the general smoothness of their play. As the catalyst for corner success, Ella-Tang must quickly assess many things when considering the team’s next move.

“We have so many different set plays for corners and we’ll use a specific one depending on ho the defense is set up. The key to successful corners is, primarily, executing the corner quickly before the defense is ready, but it is also really important to exploit what the other team is giving to you,” Ella-Tang said.

Despite the goal by Denenga, Colgate was not able to convert any other opportunities. The game went out on a distinctively brown and gold note as Lindsay Smith scored the final goal of the game in the 55th minute of the second half.

The greatest problem for the team was their defense. Although Pedersen had another 10-save effort, the team was hindered by rather sloppy defense. With a penalty given up through a deliberate fouls and unclear marking assignments, the women will have to work hard to clean up their backfield if they hope to make the Patriot League Tournament.

“Working together and executing under pressure is still a bit of a challenge for us.” Coach Foto said. “We will continue to do a number of things in practice this week to gain confidence on the defensive end and improve our discipline.”

The Raiders will look for redemption on Saturday when they take on American University at noon.