By Jared Prenda
The Catholic University Field Hockey team saw its season come to a conclusion on Wednesday, October 6. The Lady Cardinals fell 2-1 at the Cardinal Athletic Complex to Susquehanna University in the Landmark Conference Semifinals. The home team carried a 12-8 (6-1 Landmark) record entering the contest, and were given the second seed for the tournament. The loss marks the first time in three years that the team failed to reach the conference championships.
The scoreboard did not reflect the character of the game, as Catholic dominated all statistical categories. CUA outshot the River Hawks 19-3, and held a 13-1 advantage in penalty corners. Catholic was constantly applying pressure, but was unable to beat Susquehanna University goalkeeper Veronica Green.
Susquehanna first found the back of the net with only six minutes remaining in the second period on a penalty stroke. Senior forward Katie Anderson was the only Cardinal to score on the evening, when she was assisted by junior Megan Shallow with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter. The goal was the 12th of the season for Anderson, and the 25th of her career. The advantage was short lived however as Susquehanna put the game to its final margin of 2-1 halfway through the fourth quarter.
This game was the conclusion of a season made of two halves. The team struggled early in the season, entering Conference play with a .500 winning record due to a tough schedule. The Lady Cards faced off against five teams ranked in the top 25 in Division III in their first month of play, and dropped each one. Overall, the team went 1-7 against ranked opponents this season. The team did not find its stride until the beginning of conference play, where they only lost one game in overtime to Scranton. Catholic’s 6-1 conference record earned them the 2 seed in the playoffs.
The team will be without four seniors next season, as Anderson, forward Alexandra DiFloria, and defenders Carly Philbin and Nicole Tsarias will all be graduating. Anderson ends her career with one Second Team All-Landmark selection and scored 25 goals and assisted on 8 through her four years. Tsarias has long anchored the team’s defense earning one First Team All-Landmark selection and was named to the NFHCA Mid-Atlantic All-Region team her junior season. She will be representing the Cardinals at the NFHCA Division III Senior All-Star game which coincides with NCAA DIII tournament at the end of the month.
The team has qualified for the Landmark Conference finals every year since Catholic joined the conference in 2007, and is still touted as one of the best programs in the Mid-Atlantic. The team has drawn a big recruiting class, with over half of the team falling in the sophomore and freshman classes. Many of these young players were instrumental in the team’s success this season and will only get better as they advance in their careers. Despite the heartbreaking exit, the future is very bright for the Lady Card’s field hockey team.