Field Hockey tallies first home win on Friday
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 17:09
The Delaware field hockey team bounced back strong from their loss to North Carolina on Sept. 7 by beating Monmouth, 3-1, Wednesday at Rullo Stadium.
The team was hard at work on the practice field between the two games, doing defensive and attacking work. Head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof said he would compare the game against North Carolina to a prizefight and that the team had to work for opportunities like that.
“We have to fight if we want the opportunity to get better,” he said. “I compared it to a boxing match-you go 12 rounds, and at the end of the 12 rounds they decide a winner if you are still alive.”
The Hens took van de Kerkhof’s words to heart, right from the outset the team battled hard, setting up attacks and keeping Monmouth at bay for the first 20 minutes. However, Monmouth found a gap in the defense and scored the opening goal from 15 yards out.
At halftime, the Hens were down 1-0. The team sat on the bench, deep in conversation and junior forward Toni Papinko said the team had to play better as a whole.
“We just realized after the first half that we needed to step it up,” Papinko said. “This was going to be a fight today. We just knew we had to work harder as a team and we got really pumped up.”
Five minutes into the second half, senior forward Tory Sharpless scored to tie the game. Five minutes later, senior midfielder/forward and team captain Nikki Onorato scored the go-ahead goal off of a corner.
However, Onorato was not finished just yet. She scored another goal in the 53rd minute off of another corner. Onorato credited the practices to help her to be confident making those goals.
“We practice the corners a lot,” she said. “So we start to be comfortable in our positions, and we have confidence in our strikers that are hitting it off that they are going to play set balls right to where we want it. The easy job is just to get that tip off.”
For van de Kerkhof, being in control throughout the match was key to the team’s success. When he talked to the team at halftime, he emphasized the importance of commanding the easy plays, he said.
“We were a step behind in pretty much everything that we were doing out there,” he said. “We were not controlling the controllables that we had to present ourselves on offense, and pressure on defense.”
The Hens now have a 3-6 record. They are on the road until Oct. 5, when they will play Northeastern in the opening game of their 2012 CAA campaign.
Between now and then, however, the team will need to work on a few things in order to play well in the CAA. Onorato said the team needs to play better in the first half because it might not get the chance for a comeback.
“We’ll always take a win, but we need to come out stronger in the first half,” she said. “How we started—you can’t start like that against all teams. You might not get that opportunity to come back in the second half and win the game.”
For van de Kerkhof, he was happy with the second half of the game, but said in order to win the CAA, they need to play both halves well.
“This is the second game that we played a great second half,” he said. “And if we want to get closer to our goals regarding the CAA season, we have to start putting two halves together of equal quality. If we do that, we have a chance.”