The Utica College field hockey team lost a pair of games this past weekend against RPI and No. 20 nationally ranked University of Rochester.
The Pioneers were looking to bounce back from the loss against SUNY New Paltz and to get better throughout the week to be ready for the weekend.
UC traveled to Rensselaer and squared off with RPI for the first game of the weekend. The first half did not have much excitement, as both teams could not find the back of the net. The Pioneers felt confident going into the second half with the game plan they had set for the game.
“RPI was a very mid-field oriented game,” senior Tori Couture said. “After a scoreless half we knew we needed to capitalize on our scoring opportunities to win.”
RPI junior Colleen Fowler opened up the game scoring off a penalty corner early in the second half to give the Engineers the 1-0 lead. UC did not let the score phase them as senior Colleen Dowling tied the game up eight minutes later, which was also Dowling’s first goal of the season.
RPI ended up responding four minutes later to regain the lead 2-1. The Pioneers cranked up the intensity in the last 15 minutes of the game, but it was not enough as RPI went on to win 4-1.
The intensity UC showed late in the game proved not to be enough, but they will take that away as a positive from the loss.
“The team stepped up with more intensity that was not shown in the beginning of the game,” sophomore Abby Bird said.
The team had to have a short memory as they were traveling to nationally ranked University of Rochester the following day. Despite the loss to RPI, UC was ready for the tough challenge against the University of Rochester.
“We had a tough loss to RPI the day before,” junior Megan McCormick said. “We knew that U of R was a good team, but we were ready for the challenge.”
The Pioneers’ confidence proved throughout the game. The Yellowjackets scored the first goal of the game in the 17th minute and it was the only goal scored of the first half. UC had several scoring opportunities in the second half of the game, but could not find a solution to get the ball past University of Rochester’s goalie Tara Lamberti. The Yellowjackets added an insurance goal in the 56th minute and that would end up being the last goal of the game as they won 2-0.
The Pioneers played tough throughout the entire game and even though they lost they feel like that was their best game of the season so far.
“I think we had our best game yet against U of R,” head coach Sarah Elleman said. “We played very hard and showed a lot of effort that we had not seen previously.”
The Yellowjackets had 22 shots on goal throughout the game, but senior Kells Casey held them to only two goals in the game. Casey’s experience and talent has proven to be one of the Pioneers’ strengths this season.
“She has been a wall in the cage,” Elleman said. “She has been keeping us in games. As our team grows and develops, she will be helping us win those games.”
“She has really played great so far,” Couture said. “She is leading the Empire 8 right now with 57 saves which just exemplifies how much she does for our team…she knows what she has to do and keeps improving every day.”
Casey’s outstanding season so far this season will help the Pioneers as they head in to conference play this Saturday on the road against Elmira College. UC is excited to start up conference play and will use this week to prepare for Elmira.
“Hopefully watching film and correcting the things we have been doing poorly on and fixing our small passing game will help us get our first in-conference win,” Couture said. “Conference games are always more intense and Elmira is never an easy opponent, but overall we are very excited to be moving into conference play this weekend.”