By Jimmy Cassidy
The field hockey team at Catholic University fell to the 13th-ranked team in the nation, Christopher Newport University, on Monday, October 19th, 1-0. This tough defeat to a strong opponent was the team’s first in the month. Before Monday, the Cards were victorious in five straight contests, outscoring their opponents by an outstanding margin, 27-1. The run moves Catholic’s overall record to 10-4 with a 4-1 conference mark. Two of the more notable wins during the stretch are definitely the triumphs over 4th-ranked Salisbury University and Landmark Conference rival University of Scranton.
On Wednesday, October 7th, the Cardinals hosted Salisbury at Cardinal Stadium. The No. 4 team in the nation Gulls had only one loss heading into the contest, to the NCAA defending champions, The College of New Jersey. Salisbury handled a good bit of the possession of the ball in the game, and outnumbered Catholic in just about the all the offensive statistics. However, the Cards took care of the most important stat as they were able to get the ball past the keeper. The 2-0 shutout victory demanded a fantastic performance from the entire team, but especially the defensive unit. Junior goalkeeper Analisa Scott was brilliant in goal, facing 19 shots and saving 12 shots on goal. She was aided by the defensive efforts from Sophy Maute, Tarah Portland, Kelly Cousoulis, Madalyn Dennis, Lane Adams, and Marisa Martinelli. As a team, they defended 19 corners to preserve the clean sheet.
“We have a lot of really hard-working players,” head coach Gia Cillizza said. “It was a great program win.”
The goal to break the scoreless tie came off the stick of senior Taylor Elliot in the 28th minute. She finished an opportunity created by a nice cross from sophomore Rachel Day. CUA ended the first half with the lone goal advantage. In just one of the team’s four corners all game, Elliot found fellow senior Hayley Wright who sent in into the net for the crucial insurance goal. After the lead was extended to two goals just a few minutes into the second half, it was up to the defense to hold their ground for the remaining time on the clock. They did just that, and the Cardinals knocked off Salisbury, 2-0.
“Beating Salisbury is always incredible. We’ve beaten them the past 2 years and our group of seniors really wanted to win it in our last matchup,” Elliot noted. “Nothing beats the feeling of rushing the field after a big win, and we used that confidence in the games following.”
Catholic was again tested on Saturday, October 17th, in a conference battle against Scranton. Both teams were being recognized nationally in the latest Nation Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, and CUA was voted #18 in the nation after their recent success. They came out and dominated the Royals on their way to a 4-1 victory. For Scranton, it was just their second loss of the season, moving their record to 12-2 overall. The Cardinals had 21 shots in the contest, 12 of which were on goal, and they held their opponents to just 2 shots in the entire game. Freshman Molly Crowley had two goals in the game, and sophomores Rachel Day and Marisa Martinelli both added one each to score the first four goals of the contest. The 4-1 victory was the 9th win for Analisa Scott in goal.
Freshman Lane Adams was asked about the recent team’s impressive run and postseason outlook.
“We’ve noticed that we need to apply more pressure to the ball and we need to utilize our skills,” Lane said. “In our game against Goucher we really did a great job of applying that and our improvement showed.”
In an extremely competitive Landmark Conference, the Cardinals sit atop the standings at 4-1 overall. They are tied with two other teams at that record, and there are two more teams just behind at 3-2. The team’s next matchup is slated for Saturday the 24th at Susquehanna at 1:00 PM.
“As far as the Landmark goes, we want to be number one, 100%. Even though I’m one of 7 freshman, we all have the same drive and determination as anyone else on the field to do what it takes to be number one,” Lane added. “Everyone wants to be the best in the Landmark.”