Field hockey comes up short against Huskies

Juli Walsh

Last Sunday the women’s field hockey team fell short against Big East opponent Connecticut. Although the Wildcats were not victorious, the squad gave the nationally-ranked and undefeated Huskies a run for their money.

“Although this was a very tough loss, it served as a true showing of what our team can accomplish as long as we work together,” Senior Captain Vanessa Pizzulli said.

The game was closely matched from buzzer to buzzer, although at times, it seemed as though UConn was coming up with all the calls. In the first half alone, the Huskies had 11 penalty corners and one penalty shot. However, the Wildcat defense did not allow their opponents to capitalize on these opportunities.

With Pizzulli leading the way, the ‘Cats defense of Natalie Balthrop, Simone Schunk and Katie DiLullo also assisted in hindering the Huskie offense.

“Katie DiLullo stepped up and did a great job marking out Lauren Henderson, one of UConn’s biggest scoring threats,” Pizulli said. “Natalie, Simone and Erin also played outstanding defense and together only allowed UConn one goal.”

Sophomore goalie Erin Scott also stepped up during the game. She played remarkably well, capturing 13 saves for the ‘Cats.

The only goal of the game came 10 minutes into the second half. Meghan Hoffman took several shots on goal, which were all denied by Scott. Finally, Hoffman dished the ball off to teammate Laura Puddle, who found an opening in the net.

The Wildcats continued to fight back and found several chances to tie the game. One of the most exciting plays came from sophomore Megan Foster.

After dodging several players, she managed to get off a hard shot, but unfortunately, it went wide. Despite missing the goal, Foster’s aggressive effort helped motivate the’Cats, including freshman Kim Lyniak.

“I played with Megan in high school, so it has been fun watching her do so well here at ‘Nova,” Lyniak said.

Earlier in the week, Scott collected her first shutout of the season in the Wildcats 2-0 victory against West Chester.

The game remained tied throughout the first half, with neither team tallying a goal. Less than two minutes into the second half of the game, the Wildcats finally got on the board when Foster scored off an assist from sophomore Sara Schmidt. Rory Rogers scored the second goal for the ‘Cats.

The win, however, did not come without some controversy. After being awarded with a penalty stroke, Sara Way, who had been sidelined with a knee injury, came off the bench to take the shot for the Wildcats. Her shot made it in the net, but unfortunately, the referee called it back. West Chester’s head coach challenged the goal because Way, who was not wearing shin guards, was not in proper uniform.

Villanova (3-3) will host Big East opponent Rutgers on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Villanova Stadium. In preseason polls, the Scarlet Knights were ranked below the Wildcats.