ESU Field Hockey netted four goals, and the defense shut out the Bellarmine University Knights for the team’s first win of the season last Saturday, Sept. 7 at Whitenight Field.
The Warriors are a perennial field hockey powerhouse under the direction of head coach Sandy Miller.
Last year, the Warriors fell to Shippensburg University in the national championship game.
However, they have reloaded during the offseason and are currently ranked third in the nation.
The game began a bit unevenly. The Warriors had a few chances to score, but Bellarmine senior goalkeeper Heather Gregory made some acrobatic saves to keep the game scoreless.
In the last minute of the first quarter, senior midfielder Karly Conway found a loose ball inside the circle and fired it into the back of the net for the game’s first goal.
Despite allowing a goal, Bellarmine’s defense was stingy, and the score remained 1-0 at halftime
A trio of Warrior sophomores led the offense as they dominated the second half.
Sophomores forward Celeste Veenstra, defense/midfielder Hannah Barbush and midfielder Becca Heffner all netted goals to make the final score 4-0 ESU.
Their offense put on a show, and the Warriors outshot the Knights 22-1 for the game.
The Warrior defense was outstanding in their own right. Senior goalkeeper Maddie Richie only faced one shot-on-goal, which she was able to kick away harmlessly.
Miller offered a few comments after the game.
“We lost a couple of players from last year, so we knew there would be some pregame jitters,” Miller said.
Miller explained that the slow start came from the Warriors not moving Bellarmine’s goalie off her spot enough, but once they did, they were able to capitalize.
She also gave Bellarmine credit for making it tough on ESU.
“But once we started playing our game, we took it to them pretty good,” stated Miller.
“It could have been seven, eight to nothing. It wasn’t because their goalie kept them in there.”
The new rule for the field hockey games this season is that they will be played in four 15-minute quarters.
“We are not in favor of it because we sub a lot. Now other teams get those breaks, and we want to push at them.” Miller said.
The adjustments were initiated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), and despite not being in favor of the changes, the Warriors plan on using them to their advantage by being able to play certain players more.
Also, this game marked the first time that the ESU Marching Band came to support the field hockey team.
Junior midfielder Lea Hughes said, “I think that we played well. It’s a good start to our first game of the season.”
Assistant Coach Katie Ord primarily coaches the defense. Naturally, she was proud of her defense’s performance, noting that they earned their first shutout of the season.
Despite the outcome, Bellarmine University head coach Devanny Boisvert was also proud of her team’s performance.
“East Stroudsburg was a very tough opponent, especially for our first game,”
Boisvert said. She was especially pleased with the fact that the Knights held ESU to only one goal in the first two quarters.
“Our focus now needs to be more generating the attack. Getting more opportunities in the circle, getting more corners and shots,” Boisvert said.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, ESU beat No. 8 Stonehill College 1-0 in double-overtime for their second straight win.
The Warriors (2-0) will host Slippery Rock University (0-1) at Whitenight Field this Saturday, Sept. 14.
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