Field hockey achieves consecutive wins

Marco Cicchino, Staff writer

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The Mercyhurst field hockey team defeated Lindenwood University, 2-1, on Saturday, Sept. 19. After this win, the team now has consecutive wins for the first time since winning four in a row at the end of last season. This brought the Lakers to 2-4 on the season.
“I think this is definitely some good motivation. Any time you win two consecutive games, it’s a great thing, so we’re just going to try to keep doing that,” sophomore Taylor Balser said.
Freshman Katelyn Smith got the scoring started for the Lakers just 2:22 into the game. This was her third goal of the season.
After confusion in front of Lindenwood’s goalkeeper, Victoria Gil, went in favor of the Lakers, Balser was rewarded a penalty shot at 18 minutes into the game.
Balser recorded her first career goal after promptly depositing the penalty-shot to the top-right of the goal, and Gil was unable to recover in time to stop the shot, giving the Lakers a 2-0 advantage.
“A stroke is pretty scary, as you’re the only one there, so it was exciting and nice and I was just glad that I could help my team,” Balser said.
With just 10 minutes left to play, Lindenwood’s weapon Nicole Johnston, snuck a shot just inside the left post that Lakers goalkeeper, senior Sam Takac, wasn unable to contain.
The game was dominated by defense at both ends. However, neither side could take advantage of a combined 25 corners. 15 corners came from the Lions and 10 from the Lakers.
Senior forward Cayla Slade, led the way with several key swipes that otherwise would have led to Lindenwood having more chances to score.
Slade was successfully able to keep the ball on the Lion’s end of the field.
“She definitely was our rock on the right side, her stick skills were amazing, and she was definitely hard to get through,” Balser said.
Even with the defensive efforts by Slade and her unit, the majority of the game was uneasy from the fans’ viewpoint, due to a persistent attack, coordinated by Lindenwood Coach Sarah Johnson, generating opportunities that rambled but never reached their targets in the slot.
Only nine of the Lions 16 shots were directly against Takac, who came within three minutes of her first clean-sheet this season.
Gil was even pulled from goal at 65 minutes in a desperate offensive measure for the Lions, but had no bearing with Slade and her midfield unit.
The game was only sealed when several throw-ins kept the ball on the Lions’ defensive zone, then forwards acting as defensemen passed around to ward away any potential attackers, and even Laker senior Andrea Goldbach’s defensive unit swiped several balls away from Lindenwood forwards.
Lindenwood’s Nicole Johnston and her equally-staunch defense contained all of Goldbach’s 10 opportunities from the outer hash.
“We just need to work harder in the circle and make sure we finish on the corners,” Goldbach said.
The Lakers return to PSAC action as they play Seton Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m.
“I think our PSAC is a great conference, and that we have a lot to prove, so our game will be a good game to show the PSAC that we are here, and we are going to be a strong contending team this year,” said Balser.

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