James Madison ruins Senior Night for field hockey
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 10:10
Senior Night did not end in favor of the Hens on Friday as the Delaware field hockey team dropped its regular season finale in overtime, 3-2, to James Madison at Rullo Stadium. The Hens are now 7-11 (3-4 CAA) as they prepare for the CAA Tournament on Thursday.
The Dukes came away with the first shot of the game off a penalty corner. However, Delaware junior goalkeeper Sarah Scher made one of her five saves on the night. The contest saw some back-and-forth play at the midfield until the Hens finally broke through 10 minutes into the first half.
Delaware scored the first goal of the game off of a penalty corner of their own. Hens’ senior midfielder Carly Hecht passed to sophomore defender Kelsey McKee who was initially denied, but McKee put the rebound into the back of the goal, and the Hens took a 1-0 lead.
Delaware would have several chances to expand upon their lead throughout the first half as the team took seven shots before halftime. However, Dukes goalkeeper Lena Wimmert did not allow the Hens to pile onto the lead, and the period ended with the Hens, 1-0.
The second half was not as kind to Delaware. The Dukes came out shooting as they peppered Scher with several early shots. Delaware’s defense did not hold up for much longer, as forward Courtney Versfield assisted forward Jenna Taylor off of a corner penalty with 22 minutes remaining in the contest.
"The game changed dramatically at the half," Scher said. "They came out with a lot more fight than we did.Coming into it we knew it was a 50-50 game. They have amazing forwards on their team. They have very strong team, as do we."
The game was tied 1-1. However, neither team was done scoring.
The Dukes would strike again with eight minutes left in the game. After a hard shot from 15 yards out, midfielder Dana Allaband tipped in a deflection. Scher said it was a tough save to make.
“The second goal got deflected and as a goalie that’s really hard to react to,” Scher said. “They had a very strong comeback.”
Delaware head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof called a timeout after his team fell behind 2-1. Despite not generating any offense for the duration of the second half, the Hens would create several opportunities as the game began to reach its conclusion.
With just over four minutes remaining, Delaware struck even off a corner penalty. Junior midfielder Claire O’Malley evened the score off a rebound from McKee.
“It was our corner play,” O’Malley said. “Kelsey [hit] it from the top and it was a rebound over the left. Toni [Popinko] jumped off it and sent it in, and I was just waiting on that ball. We knew there were going to be a lot of rebounds off that goalie. It was really Toni and everybody else on the team’s goal. I just finished it.”
The Dukes had a chance to regain the lead with 1:40 remaining, as Versfield had a one-on-one opportunity to score. However, Scher made an acrobatic save to keep the Hens’ chances alive.
The game would go into overtime tied at 2-2. The extra period started in a stalemate, as neither squad took a shot until Hens freshman midfielder Michaela Patzner put one on goal with seven minutes remaining. Wimmert blocked the shot and sent it away from the Hens’ offensive zone.
However, the game winner wasn’t far away. With just over five minutes remaining in overtime, Duke midfielder Taylor West blasted in a backhanded shot from 10 yards out into the upper right hand corner of the cage.
Van de Kerkof said he was disappointed with his team’s loss. However, he said he is eager to begin play in the CAA Tournament later this week.
“It’s a new season,” van de Kerkof said. “Everybody can beat everybody in this league this year. So, what’s important for us is that I think we just have to become more consistent in our performance. Today, we had about 80 to 85 percent of a consistent performance. It has to be 100 percent if you want to put yourself in a position to win.”