Field hockey snags second straight OT win



Anne Wein

“We are a team and there is great support from every person,” Villanova head field hockey coach Joni Milhous said, following her team’s 4-3 double overtime win against Drexel Tuesday. Perhaps their strength as a team is what contributed to the sudden burst of intensity at the end of the second half, which led the team through two suspenseful overtime periods, with the end result being a victory for the ‘Cats.

Drexel started off powerfully, scoring their first goal in the first 50 seconds of the game. Yet with 20 minutes remaining in the first half, ‘Nova goalie Meghan Helwig seemed to be getting lonely at the defensive end of the field. Both teams picked up the speed of the game at the ten minute mark. With two minutes left in the half, ‘Nova took a strong shot at the cage, but still could not score. Soon afterwards, two corners for Villanova’s offense pumped up the crowd, but the score remained 1-0 in favor of Drexel, allowing the Dragons to carry their lead into the second half.

Villanova took the field in the second half with plenty of spirit. On a diving attempt to stop a goal, a penalty was called on Helwig for landing on and covering the ball. Drexel senior forward Sherri Geis took the stroke and scored the second goal for the Dragons.

Soon after the second goal, Drexel ran up the field, got past the defense and scored another goal at the 18 minute mark. This brought the score to 3-0, but Villanova kept its spirits high and picked up the pace. Junior midfielder Colleen Helms gave a nice pass to freshman Rory Rogers who pushed a shot past the Drexel goal, scoring not only ‘Nova’s first goal of the game, but her first goal of the season. Not more than a minute later, the ‘Cats had a corner during which Rogers found sophomore forward Kelly Driscoll open, who drove past the Drexel goalie for ‘Nova’s second goal.

Closing the gap to 3-2, the last minutes of the game put everyone on the edge of their seats. With eight minutes left, Helwig made a diving save to stop a Drexel shot. Rogers then gained control of the ball, leading to a corner. With 7:28 left in the game, forward Leah Lisausky tied the game by converting the hit.

With 30 seconds left, Villanova gained control of the ball and Lisausky drove the ball down the field, but the clock ran out, sending the teams into the first overtime. After 15 minutes of back and forth play, the game was sent into double overtime.

“Whoever was going to win was going to be whoever wanted it more and had more discipline,” Milhous said.

Somewhere along the line, ‘Nova decided that was going to be them. With 10:14 remaining, Lisausky pushed the ball into the left corner of the goal, clutching ‘Nova’s third win of the season, and second straight in overtime.

Despite the strong comeback, Milhous admitted her team’s need for improvement.

“The intensity needs to be there from the start,” she said. “This was our third overtime game. We’re starting too late in the game, and the intensity and work ethic needs to be stronger.”

Sophomore defender Vanessa Pizzulli agreed with her coach.

“We have such skilled players and great potential,” she said. “We just need to take it to the next level.”