Field hockey opens season with mixed results

VCU field hockey has battled valiantly in the opening weeks of the season, alternating wins with losses through four games.

Sterling Giles
Contributing Writer

The VCU field hockey team split its first four decisions of the season, compiling a 2-2 record through two weeks of play under new head coach Laura Baker.

The Lady Rams first traveled to Busch Field in Williamsburg to face the William & Mary Tribe on Sept. 1.

The game started off with an early goal from the Tribe’s Pippin Saunders in the eighth minute. Four minutes later, Stephanie DeMasi put the Rams on the board to knot the score at one apiece.

VCU maintained offensive pressure throughout the rest of the half, but was not able to suppress the two additional goals scored by the Tribe in the remaining four minutes of the period.

After the break, in the 42nd minute, Kendell Combs scored on an assist from DeMasi and junior Nicole Barry to pull the Rams within one. But it wouldn’t be enough and William & Mary solidified its victory by netting a game-clinching goal in the 68th minute.

Despite the loss, head coach Laura Baker wasn’t entirely disappointed.

“We played some good spurts of hockey,” Baker said in a release from VCU Athletics. “But we need to focus on being able to play a more composed game for the entire 70 minutes.”

After that, the Lady Rams traveled to Palo Alto, Calif. to take on their next opponent, the Pacific Tigers. The second time around, VCU put together a more complete contest.

Four different players scored over the course of the 4-2 victory on Sept. 6  against Pacific. Combs recorded a goal in the eighth minute, senior Kayla Mueller in the 44th, freshman Krystal Mayers in the 48th and freshman Alexis Schramm added a tally in the 58th minute. DeMasi’s assist to Mueller improved her career total to 22,  two shy of the all-time program record of 24.

On Sept. 8, the Rams competed at the same venue in Palo Alto, Calif.; however, this time they faced the No. 12 Stanford Cardinals.

The Lady Rams were unable to muster a single goal against the Cardinals and lost 2-0 despite the herculean effort by senior goalkeeper Megan Botteri. She prevented 11 shots from netting in the first half alone. The feat garnered praise from her head coach.

“Megan Botteri was outstanding all day long,” Baker told VCU Athletics. “She played one of the best games of her life and really was incredible against an impressive Stanford team.”

Finally, VCU managed to pull back to .500 with a 3-1 victory over Towson on Sept. 13. The Rams overcame a halftime deficit with a trio of goals from Emilie Soares, Schramm and Mueller in the 40th, 42nd and 53rd minutes respectively.

Following the first two weeks of play, Baker appeared pleased with her team’s performance.

“I think we have had a good start to the year,” she said. “I am really happy with where we are right now, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

VCU also hosted Liberty on Sunday, Sept. 15, but the match finished too late for inclusion in this issue.

Next up for the Rams is former Colonial Athletic Association foe James Madison this Wednesday, Sept. 18 in Harrisonburg. Following its contest with the Dukes, VCU will host North Carolina, Siena and Davidson to round out the month of September.

 

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