By George Tatoris
As students and faculty ran for cover from a surprise rain shower last Thursday, Sept. 1, the College’s field hockey team was practicing for its opening matchup against Stevens Institute of Technology at Lions Stadium.
The rain subsided by the time the action started, but the field and the Lions occupying it were soaked, making for poor playing conditions. Wetness can cause a player’s hands to slip when performing the simplest skills.
“As you can imagine, our turf shoes were soaked, so we were slipping a little more than usual,” said Lexi Smith, a senior defender. “Also, water makes the ball roll faster on field turf, thus, (we were forced) to adjust accordingly.”
The adjustments paid off. Despite the weather, the Lions had a spectacular opener — the team overpowered the Ducks, 6-0.
Smith made the Lions first goal of the season, striking the Ducks net just two minutes into the game. Smith was relieved to get a head start for the Lions.
“When you play from ahead, it makes everybody’s job easier,” Smith said.
The Ducks defense responded by holding off would-be goals from Smith, senior midfielder/forward Jaclyn Douglas and freshman forward Zoe Sparks, but Stevens soon slipped. Senior midfielder/forward Danielle Andreula fed the ball to junior forward Elizabeth Morrison, who added another tally to the Lions lead.
For the next 10 minutes, the Lions didn’t ease up. Sophomore midfielder/defender Sidney Padilla added to the momentum with a goal off an assist from Smith. Before the first 15 minutes of the game were up, Smith added two more goals, which earned her a hat trick and an assist.
The Ducks hardened their defense for the remainder of the half, but so did the Lions. Throughout the final minutes of the first half, senior goalkeeper Kelly Schlupp made two saves and senior defender Shannon Cowles made a defensive save of her own, closing out the half 5-0.
The teams returned to the field. The clouds seemed ready to break.
The Lions offense surged straight out of the gate. After six minutes of attacking the Ducks goal, freshman forward Iris Schuck broke through with a feed off Morrison, resulting in her first collegiate goal with the College.
Neither team allowed a goal after that, as both turned to defense.
“There was no need to continue going hard to goal and there were also other aspects of our game we needed to concentrate on,” Smith said.
Junior goalkeeper Christina Fabiano, who played during the second half, contributed to the shutout with a save in the final three minutes.
The Ducks put up a fight, but they needed more to take on the Lions. Meanwhile, the Lions stormed through poor conditions to get the win.