Athletic competition includes many variables that ultimately decide who wins and who loses a match, but sometimes matches just come down to one team being better than the other.
That was the case in both games this week as the College’s field hockey team fell to No. 3-ranked Messiah College 4-2 on Oct. 7 and then later defeated Johns Hopkins University 4-1 on Oct. 10.
The Lions were able to jump out to a 2-1 lead at halftime against Messiah, but were not able to hold down the Falcons in the second half.
“Messiah definitely brought a stronger effort into the second half and put a great amount of pressure on our defense,” junior forward Leigh Mitchell said. “We didn’t step up to the challenge and continue to play like we did in the first half.”
The Lions came in on a hot streak and looked like they were in business when senior midfielder Kellyn Riley put a shot into the cage 16:41 into the match, but that lead wouldn’t last long.
The Lions stepped up though and took a 2-1 lead when Mitchell capitalized on a pass from sophomore forward Caitlyn Jenkins.
That lead would hold over until halftime, but the play after halftime was where the Falcons separated themselves from the No. 11-ranked Lions.
The Falcons beat the Lions at their own game by owning the second half. The Lions were held to only one shot – which was saved by freshman goalkeeper Kayleigh Stewart – and no goals, while allowing three goals to enter their cage.
“We played very defensively and struggled to get the ball in our offensive end to maintain the pressure we were putting on in the first half,” Mitchell said.
The Falcons seemed to outdo the Lions in every category there was, but the main differences between the first half and the second half came in the amount of penalty corners.
Both teams recorded five penalty corners each in the first half, but the Falcons were able to collect 11 to the Lions’ three in the second half.
Those extra penalty corners were crucial for the 14 shots that the Falcons were able to put towards the cage in the second half of play.
“(Penalty) corners are a huge offensive advantage and a big challenge on defense,” Mitchell said. “So the ratio of our corners to theirs definitely played a role in the offensive output.”
Once the match was over the Lions had no other choice but to get ready for their next game against Johns Hopkins University.
The Lions were able to shake off their loss to the Falcons quickly as they scored three goals in the first half.
Two of those goals came off the stick of junior forward Kathleen Notos, who got an assist from Mitchell on the first goal and then collected her own rebound on the second.
The difference this time around for the Lions was their ability to bring a dominant second-half effort on defense that was lacking in the game against the Falcons.
The Lions were able to hold the Blue Jays to one goal, while also scoring another goal of their own courtesy of junior defender Alex Okuniewicz.
The win increased the Lions record to 3-0 when coming off a loss and 10-3 overall on the season.
“With so many games on our schedule this year we have to be able to learn from our mistakes, correct them and move on quickly and that is something that helps to keep our season successful,” Mitchell said.
The Lions will stay on the road again this week as they head to No. 1-ranked Salisbury University for another tough contest on Oct. 16.
“Salisbury is always a challenge but an exciting game to play,” Mitchell said. “We’ll have to come out strong in the first half and maintain the intensity for the entire 70 minutes of the game (to win).”