By Ronald Hanaki
In an intriguing matchup that pitted two of the top teams in NFHCA Division II field hockey, ESU beat Stonehill 5-1 in their home opener at Whitenight Field on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 5. This was a non-conference game for both teams.
The Warriors, who were ranked sixth in the NFHCA Division II preseason poll and fourth in the preseason PSAC poll, were led by last season’s PSAC Offensive Athlete of the Year and perennial goalscorer Ally Roth.
Roth, a senior forward, scored two goals to power ESU past fifth-ranked Stonehill. Roth is now third on the all-time NCAA Division II scoring list among active players with 55 career goals.
In addition to Roth, junior midfielder Desiraye Mack contributed two goals, and junior forward Robin Stevenson scored a goal for the Warriors.
This game was a tale of two halves. The first half was competitive as the goalkeepers from both teams were stout in goal. Finally, at the 23:05 mark, ESU drew first blood when Roth’s shot sailed past Stonehill freshman goalkeeper Sara Freedman to make the score 1-0 Warriors.
Stonehill struck back, though. With 5:07 left in the first half, Stonehill senior forward Lauren Giordano’s shot got past ESU junior goalkeeper Danielle Ard for the equalizer. The game was tied 1-1 at recess with Stonehill holding a 7-5 edge in shots.
The brief respite enabled the Warriors to assert their dominance in the second half with four consecutive shots on goal in the first three minutes.
Stonehill debutante goalkeeper Sara Freedman was playing valiantly under pressure in her first-ever college field hockey game, but she finally cracked when Warrior Desiraye Mack’s shot found the back of the net at the 37:51 mark. That was the first of four unanswered goals for ESU in the second half.
The Warriors were now up 2-1 and never looked back. Roth scored her second goal of the game at 55:43, and Mack and Stevenson added insurance goals late in the game to make the final score 5-1 as the Warriors chased the Stonehill Skyhawks off Whitenight Field.
In total, ESU outshot Stonehill 15-3 in the second half.
The team statistics showed that the Warriors dominated the game. For the entire game, ESU outshot Stonehill 20-10, and the Warriors had nine corners to only four for Stonehill.
Warrior goalkeeper Danielle Ard was almost flawless in making five saves on six shots on goal.
ESU’s field hockey team will continue their busy Labor Day weekend home stand when they face Adelphi on Sunday afternoon, September 6.
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