Field hockey began their 2016 campaign with a pair of weekend matchups against Rutgers University and Monmouth University. The Rams dropped both contests by scores of 5-0 and 3-1, respectively.
After a competitive first half, Rutgers scored four goals in the second period as they pulled away for the win against the Rams on Saturday, Aug. 27.
VCU junior goalkeeper Chessa Kownurko had an active game, recording 10 saves, racking up 17 for the season.
Both teams came out of the gates with stifling defenses in the first half. The Rams and Scarlet Knights were knotted at zero 29 minutes into the first half until a Rutgers goal at the 28:44 minute mark opened the scoring. They would take the 1-0 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Rutgers put their foot on the gas pedal. The Scarlet Knights scored four goals after halftime, extending their lead to 5-0. The Rams offense continued to struggle, as they were unable to notch a goal against the impenetrable Rutgers defense.
The Scarlet Knights outshot VCU 24-8 on the day. Only Kownurko’s efforts in goal kept the game from developing into a blow-out.
The Rams fell short in a close match during their season opener against Monmouth on Friday Aug. 26.
The Rams were able to hold the Hawks scoreless in the second half, but a quick start early on was too much for the Black and Gold to bounce back from.
Monmouth’s first two goals of the game were a result of early penalty corners in the first half. The Hawks outshot the Rams 9-1 in the first half as the VCU offense got off to a stagnant start which led to a 3-0 deficit at halftime.
VCU’s defense shined in the second half as they held Monmouth scoreless. This defensive effort was led by Kownurko. The North Wales, Pennsylvania native came away with seven saves, keeping her Rams within striking distance of the Hawks.
Seconds after a Monmouth turnover, VCU’s offense converted a golden opportunity. At the 65:49 mark junior forward Alexis Albright scored off an assist from senior defender Sydney Weise.
The two teams were held to seven shots a peice during the second half as both defenses locked down. The Hawks had a 6-5 edge in penalty corners for the game.
Field hockey has this week off and will play their home opener Friday, Sep. 9 against Longwood University.
Rodney Robinson, Contributing Writer