Field hockey’s losses to tough opponents leave long road ahead in CAA | The Triangle

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Field hockey’s losses to tough opponents leave long road ahead in CAA

Several members of the field hockey team gather prior to their game against the University of North Carolina earlier this season. The Dragons are 4-8 on the seasons and 1-1 in Colonial Athletic Associaton play. Photo Courtesy Drexeldragons.com
Several members of the field hockey team gather prior to their game against the University of North Carolina earlier this season. The Dragons are 4-8 on the seasons and 1-1 in Colonial Athletic Associaton play. (Photo Courtesy Drexeldragons.com)

It was a tough weekend for the Drexel University’s field hockey team. The lady Dragons were tasked with taking on 18th-ranked James Madison University and second-ranked University of Connecticut. Both games were lopsided both on the score board and on the field. The Dragons did not look quite themselves, as their defense was not as stout as we have been accustomed to seeing. The Dragons allowed a total of 41 shots on goal this weekend, and only managed 17 shots themselves. James Madison and Connecticut were both extremely tough, as was to be expected considering their rankings, but Drexel still played hard and did everything they could.

James Madison seemed to come out of the gates firing on all cylinders. Within the first five minutes of action the Dukes had taken three shots, one of which was saved by Ainslie Rhoads. Clearly this was a trend that the Dragons could not let continue. A team like James Madison will be dangerous if they continue to take shots on goal.

Unfortunately for the Dragons, the Dukes found the back of the goal at the 20-minute mark to take an early lead. Drexel had opportunities themselves to score, but the offense was unable to do so. Katie Bagdon took two penalty corners which would lead into two shots, but neither found their mark. It is important for the Dragons to continue working on offense and pick up their momentum from the win streak prior to this weekend.

James Madison found the back of the goal one last time in the first half, making the game 2-0. The second half was much of the same as James Madison scored two more times. The defense and offense can both be blamed for this game. The Dragons certainly had the ability to be competitive and beat the Dukes, but the offense and defense did not show up. The Dragons allowed a total of 20 shots. It is impossible to win when you allow this many shots because there is a greater chance the opposite team will score, as we saw from this game.

Drexel’s second game this past weekend was against the second-ranked Connecticut Huskies. At 13-0, the Huskies were not going to allow the Dragons to tarnish their perfect record. Like James Madison, Connecticut came out of the gates on fire. Within the first seven minutes of the game, the Huskies were able to find the back of the net. Drexel was able to get shots in the first half as well, but could not convert on any of their attempts. The Huskies, on the other hand, were able to convert two more times in the first half, making the game 3-0.

The second half was the same as the first half, though this time the Dragons could only muster two shots. Connecticut was able manage ten shots, three of which were goals. The game ended with the Huskies on top 6-0. This was a disappointing game for the Dragons, as not only the offense neutralized, but the defense couldn’t seem to stop the Huskies from doing what they wanted.

Even with these two games this weekend, Drexel still has a great opportunity to finish their final six games strong. This is a young team with great talent. There are adjustments that need to be made in order to win, as Head Coach Denise Zelenak was quick to note. as quick to note.k oung team with great talen teams this weekend. Our goal was to play poised and have strong possessions in our out-letting thus creating some quality offensive opportunities. Not getting on the board even though we earned corners vs both teams is something we definitely need to improve on, as well as, our save percentage,” she said.

Drexel played a poised game, but it will be important they continue to make the adjustments listed by coach Zelenak. The defense cannot allow teams to take shots at will, and the offense must take advantage of the opportunities that it creates for itself.

As for the rest of the season Coach Zelenak said, “Our goal is to finish strong and have a shot at [the Colonial Athletic Association]. Our schedule is one of the toughest in the country and losing to the [first-ranked] team in the CAA and the second-ranked team in the country, is a tough loss but doesn’t knock our confidence. Our team is resilient and motivated, we will use what worked well, build on it and continue to push forward through these last three weeks of games.”

The Dragons have the talent and the motivation, so it will be exciting to see how they will finish. The Dragons will be playing both Temple University and University of Pennsylvania this weekend. You can bet the Dragons are looking forward to this game against Philadelphia rivals. It should make for some exciting field hockey.

 

 

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