Field Hockey ends season with two CAA victories | The Triangle

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Field Hockey ends season with two CAA victories

The Drexel University field hockey team celebrates a goal. (Ken Chaney - The Triangle)
The Drexel University field hockey team celebrates a goal. (Ken Chaney – The Triangle)

The Dragons handed out no sweets to Towson University Oct. 31.
After coming off back-to-back losses, which kept Drexel out of the playoffs, the Dragons fought hard to get their first conference win of the year. The Tigers came into this game sporting a 2-14 record and 0-5 record in CAA play. The Dragons held the advantage in records with an 8-8 mark, but their conference record was still winless like Towson’s. This would be a big game for Drexel, even though their opponent didn’t have the greatest record it was still important to beat the Tigers and obtain their first conference win.
Much of the first half of this game would be dictated by defense. Right out of the gate Drexel’s Meghan Plank attempted a quick shot on Towson’s goalie, Emilee Woodall, but Woodall sent the shot away. Five minutes later the Dragons would again find themselves in a scoring opportunity when Margaux Lourtie took an opportunity, but her shot went wide of Woodall.
Drexel would continue to pressure the Tigers and take advantage of Towson’s inability to clear the ball. The Dragons shot three times but were unable to get the ball in the back of the net. It wouldn’t be until the 20th minute when Lourtie would finally break Towson’s defensives and get the ball in the net for a score. It would not take long for the Dragons to come back and tally another score. Just under two minutes after Lourtie scored the first goal for Drexel, she would score yet again off an assist from Allyson Fuller.
With a 2-0 advantage, the Dragons looked to be on a roll. Anytime they can play great offensively, like they were so far in this game, the Dragons have little issues in game. Drexel has played great defense the entire season, the only thing that lacked was a consistent offense.
The scoring would subside for just a moment as Drexel continued to pour on the points in the first half. The third goal of the half came from Mary Lynam at around the 30 minute mark. She would increase the Dragons’ lead to 3-0 over the Tigers. The half ended soon after and the Dragons were playing with confidence and energy, eager to get back out onto the field and hold their lead.
The second half was scoreless, as both defenses made critical stops to hold each team to their respective scores. The Dragons had opportunities to increase their lead but Woodall would continue making stops, saving a total of 13 shots in the entire game. Jantien Gunter had a relatively quiet game, by her standards, only making four saves. These saves were critical in halting a Tiger come back, however. The fact that she only needed to make four saves shows the energy the Drexel defense played with.
This was a big win for the Dragons, because they finally recorded their first conference win of the season. Their main record would improve to 9-8, and their conference record would become 1-4. The Dragons then traveled to Newark, Delaware, for their last game of the season against the University of Delaware Blue Hens on Nov. 2.
This Delaware game was a hard fought match, one in which the Drexel defense would again save the day. The first half was almost always in Delaware’s control, and they totaled nine shots to Drexel’s three shots. The Blue Hens were able to take more shots in the first five minutes than the Dragons could in the entire opening frame. Thanks to some quick defensive maneuvers, Drexel held off Delaware, keeping the score even at zero. The dominance of the Blue Hens would continue throughout the first half. Thanks to the Dragons’ energy they made sure to give up zero goals.
The energy they had to spend playing defense most definitely hurt their energy on offense because Drexel could not set up offensive sets. It is games such as this that have hurt the Dragons all year. They are able to play excellent defense, however their offense severely lacks.
The second half would not turn out to be much different than the first, as Delaware would continue to hog the offensive sets, and Drexel continued to play energetic defense. The Dragons made sure to get in the way of shots, throwing many off-course. Jantien Gunter played a stellar second half, recording big saves to keep the game scoreless. Seeing as this was the last game of her collegiate career, she was definitely focused on giving the Dragons the win.
In order to get this win, however, the Dragons and Blue Hens would have to go into extra playing time. The first team to score would be the victor. The problem was that the Dragons struggled mightily to get offensive sets during regulation, let alone shots on goal. It would take one great play to win the game, and one great play it would be.
Twenty-one seconds into the overtime period, Chloe Pachuilo took the shot that would win the game for the Dragons. She was able to get the ball past Blue Hens goalie Emmeline Oltmans from about eight yards out. This was a big win for Drexel because it allowed the team to finish with a winning record for the eighth season in a row.
Gunter would record the win, and what a way to go off into the sunset. She may not have made into the postseason this season, however, the senior would finish her career with her third straight season of 10 or more wins, and at least five shutouts.
Dragons head coach Denise Zelenak commented on the aggression of her team in the final two games despite their elimination from postseason contention.
“We will be bringing everything we have, with no regrets.”
There is no doubt this team played tough in their final two games. They displayed a great deal of pride and toughness to be able, to not only win the Delaware game, but the Towson game as well.
The Dragons will have to face the offseason now, but perhaps next year this time they will be preparing for postseason competition. The team has shown a great deal of promise for next year, but with seniors, like Gunter, leaving, there will definitely be plenty of places to grow and improve for the Dragons. It will be exciting to see what this team will be able to do next season.

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