Lady Hens get stomped on by Tar Heels, 6-0
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 22:09
BY JACK COBOURN
Managing Sports Editor
North Carolina likely earned Delaware’s vote for No.1, as the nation’s top-ranked field hockey team blanked the Hens 6-0 Friday at Rullo Stadium.
However, head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof does not see the game, the second 6-0 loss to North Carolina in two years, as a defeat. For him, it’s another learning experience for the team.
“We always talk about play and learn,” he said. “And so this was a great opportunity for us to learn from the No. 1 team in the country.”
Coming off a 3-1 victory against St. Joseph’s on Wednesday, the upset-minded Hens were looking to turn their 1-4 season around. The tone was set early, as North Carolina scored the opening goal just 20 seconds into the game.
The Tar Heels’ play was very fast as they controlled the ball with quick passes and strong presses throughout the game. Freshman midfielder Michaela Patzner, of Germany, who leads the Hens with four goals, said North Carolina’s speed and style of play is comparable to international teams’ play.
“They were playing very fast hockey,” she said. “A lot of one-touches, which is international standard. […] They are very fit. Their press is very good, we had to run a lot.”
North Carolina also demonstrated good execution, off-ball movement and recovery, areas of strength that van de Kerkhof said the Hens expect to see in CAA play.
“They do everything at a little higher pace than we are doing right now,” he said. “And if we can move in our pace with all those areas, we are going to be doing a heck of a job in the CAA.”
The Tar Heels fired off 29 shots during the game, compared to the Hens’ one. Junior goalie Sarah Scher said the Tar Heels’ ability to get numerous shots off rebounds is an area Delaware will need to shore up going forward with the season.
With the CAA schedule coming up quickly, van de Kerkhof said Friday’s loss was one from which the team will build off of towards success.
“It’s a character game, as I would call it,” he said. “It allows us to reflect on some of the plays we did really well and see what we have to do to multiply or double or triple those numbers next time around against a team like this because it will put you in a position to do better.”
Senior midfielder/forward Nikki Onorato, the team’s captain, said that playing a team like North Carolina helps the squad see their weak spots and fix them.
“I think playing teams like that shows us what we can work on,” she said. “We want to play teams like that to make us better and we learn from their level of play and what they do and it helps us to become stronger and a smarter team.”
The Hens host Monmouth in another nonconference game Wednesday night at seven. They open their CAA season on Sept. 28 at William & Mary.
Onorato said she likes playing teams outside the conference and using these opportunities to gauge her own team’s standing at the moment.
“It’s better to play a team that’s not in your conference and learn from that,” she said. “Then you can focus on that in practice and become better. Teams like this help us to become better.”