By Jared Prenda
The CUA Field Hockey team begins its Landmark Conference play 1-0 following a road win over Scranton. The Saturday, September 22nd game in Scranton took 2 periods of extra time before the Cardinals prevailed 3-2. The season has gotten off to a slow start for the Lady Cards, who were only 2-3 prior to the match up.
The team needed to get off to a hot start in conference play to get back to its usually dominant ways. The team was ranked top 20 in the region at this point last season and was 5-2 with its only losses coming to ranked teams. The team is disappointed but was understanding due to its very young roster. One such player is goal keeper Kim McGroary, who took over the starting role this year following the graduation of long-time keeper Sophia Hamilton.
“I would say the biggest difference between this year and last year is that we are a young team this year. We only have 7 upperclassmen this year and 10 freshman and 6 sophomores,” said McGroary. “Every season is different, but when it comes down to it we have to focus on our game and how we play together as a team.”
Freshman Grace Jung scored the first goal of her career late in the first half of play. The goal came at 27:38 off a shot from from classmate Hannah Bateman from a penalty corner by junior Carly Philbin. The 1-0 lead would not last long for Catholic, as Scranton responded only 2 minutes later to bring the game even.
The game stayed quiet until 10 minutes into the second stanza, when senior Hannah Schied cleaned up the scraps on a shot from sophomore Jess Waite to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. The Catholic lead stayed like that until the final minute of play, when Scranton finally capitalized with 20 seconds to play to bring the game square.
The game went back and forth for the first 10-minute period of overtime with neither side drawing blood. The second period of extra play went the same way until sophomore Meghan Shallow scored the game winner on a fast break with less than 3 minutes to play.
McGroary had a strong showing in net, recording 9 saves on the night and earning her second career win. Of those 9 saves, 5 came in extra time. Despite the record, McGroary is off to a strong start to her year and has already earned on Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors once. McGroary only made the first start of her career in the season opener of this season, but feels ready for the added responsibility.
“Going from not playing much at all in games to playing in every game has been a big adjustment for me personally,” stated McGroary, “but I think it has given me a new perspective on how to be a part of a team and help my teammates on and off the field.”
The Cardinals followed this game by dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker at home against Mary Washington. The Cardinals are still hopeful as their young team is working out many of the lumps now, so they can continue a strong regular season campaign deep into the year. The Lady Cards next return to action on Saturday, September 29th as they host the Drew Rangers. The game is set to kick off for 5:30 PM at the Cardinal Athletic Complex located behind the DuFour Center.