Big week for field hockey shows massive improvement on offense | The Triangle

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Big week for field hockey shows massive improvement on offense

Photo Courtesy Drexeldragons.com Junior Idrienne Walker tracks down the ball earlier this season in a matchup against the University of North Carolina. Last weekend, the Dragons swept their competition, taking two straight wins over Northeastern University and RIder University.
Junior Idrienne Walker tracks down the ball earlier this season in a matchup against the University of North Carolina. Last weekend, the Dragons swept their competition, taking two straight wins over Northeastern University and RIder University. (Photo courtesy Drexeldragons.com)

Call off the dogs, it looks like the Drexel University field hockey team has found its rhythm. Over the past weekend, the Lady Dragons were able to defeat Northeastern University, as well as Rider University. In both games the Dragons were able to net four goals without letting up their defense. Though they struggled at the beginning of the season to simply score a goal, now it seems like the team has found itself offensively. If they can continue to improve on offense and keep this hot streak going they are likely to beat anyone.

Coming off of a victory against Lafayette College four days prior, the Lady Dragons came into their first Colonial Athletic Association matchup with confidence. It looked like the Dragons had found some type of rhythm. Just 20 seconds into the match, Drexel’s Megan Wiest put a shot on goal and Jessica McCarthy was able to score off of the deflection.

About 15 minutes into the first half, Northeastern would find themselves on the board after Natalie Stewart found an opening past Drexel goalie, Ainslie Rhoads. This marked the last point scored for both teams in the first half, as both defenses were quick to hunker down. In the second half, Drexel would find the back of the goal three more times, while Northeastern scored just two more times. Idrienne Walker scored the first goal in the second half after stealing the ball right in front of the net and quickly putting it in. Jessica McCarthy scored the second goal of the half off of an assist from Katie Pappas. Lauren Hibshman scored off of a penalty stroke, for Drexel’s last goal.

The Dragons found more than one way to score, which was an incredible boost for the team. Head Coach Denise Zelenak commented, “It is exciting to see the team put good numbers on the board and more importantly is that they did it in different ways; cross balls, rebounds, tips, corners and strokes. There is always room for improvement and each game brings a different challenge, so we will continue practice reading our opponents and capitalizing when we can.” Drexel’s play earned them their first win of the season against a conference opponent.

The Dragons carried their offensive rhythm into their next matchup against Rider University. The Dragons scored evenly, with two goals in the first half and two in the second, while Rider was able to score one goal in each half. Megan Weist scored the first point of the game off of a rebound in front of the goal. Jessica McCarthy continued her hot streak scoring the second goal of the game. McCarthy scored on an assist from Mary Lynam. A goal for Rider came at the 14:48 mark, but for the rest of the half, the Broncs did not score again.

The second half was similar to the first, in which the Dragons again scored twice and the Broncs could only manage a single point. Idrienne Walker scored both goals for Drexel off of assists from Danielle Grassi and Amy Ferguson. Though the Broncs again scored within the 14-minute mark, it would not be enough to overcome Drexel’s four goals.

The Dragons played great games against Northeastern and Rider, and with it have now accumulated a respectable three-game win streak, and what was once a 1-6 record has now become 4-6. With many more games to go the Dragons can easily salvage their season and make a postseason run, especially if they continue to mix their solid defense with what is now a skilled offense.

Drexel will be facing the 19th-ranked James Madison University Oct. 9. As Coach Zelenak explained, “I have confidence that we will go into the JMU game focused, united and ready to compete at the highest level. For me, the best part of all competition is the unknown result, not sure who said it but ‘any given day, any team can win,’ gives a lot of power to the underdog, so the pressure is on them.”

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