Field hockey stumbles in hostile territory

Despite a promising start in their season opener, the women’s field hockey team fell short in the final minutes of their away game against Stevens Institute of Technology, 4-3.

At first it appeared that the Ducks would give the 12th-ranked Lions little trouble after an early goal by junior forward Erin Healy. Healy, who ranked second on the team with 26

The Lions fall just short in their season opener. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

points last year, gave the Lions the early momentum that the women were looking for in order blow the game wide open.

There was no such luck, however, as the game remained competitive throughout, with neither team ever leading by more than one goal. Stevens, who had never beaten the College in school history, did not back down, as they erased deficits of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. The Lions outshot the Ducks 12-2 in the first half but were outshot in the second 17-4.

Despite the disappointing loss, there was a big upside for this young squad who has only one senior this year. The main surprise came from freshman forward Lexi Smith who recorded her first two collegiate goals for the Lions.

The first came when Smith took advantage of a loose ball to score 41 seconds before the end of the first half.  This important goal gave the Lions a 2-1 heading into the second half.

“The team had many great moments,” head coach Sharon Pfluger said. “Our goals were beautiful.”

Shortly into the second half, however, the Ducks replied and tied the game at 2-2. After swapping goals, the game was tied once more, thanks to another Smith goal.  With just 3:17 left in the game, however, a costly penalty stroke sealed the Lions’ fate.

“We made some mistakes that cost us the game, but I am confident that everyone learned a lot from yesterday’s game — and will improve because of it,” Pfluger said.

The Lions look forward to playing in their home opener this Saturday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. against Fairleigh Dickinson University–Florham.