Five days after suffering a crushing 6-1 defeat at the hands of in-state rival University of Richmond in the Atlantic 10 opener, the VCU field hockey team bounced back to beat Saint Louis on Oct. 18 by a score of 5-2, earning its first conference victory of the season and evening its record at 7-7 on the year.
The win against Saint Louis came after yet another slow start, which featured just one goal in the first 42 minutes of play. But the Lady Rams came alive shortly after the second half began, stringing together a flurry of seven shots in just more than eight minutes. Senior Emilie Soares tallied her seventh goal in the last five games.
Saint Louis responded with a goal of their own less than 40 seconds later; however, junior Kendell Combs answered with a score in the 50th minute, stretching VCU’s lead to 3-1.
From there, the Rams and Billikens exchanged goals one more time before senior Kelsey Powell netted the clinching tally in the 68th minute.
Senior Stephanie DeMasi was pleased with her team’s collective effort.
“We started off a little frantic, but we found a way to pull together and come out with a strong win,” she told VCU Athletics after the game. “It was great that five different players scored, it was truly a team win.”
Friday’s victory over Saint Louis served as a motivating rebound performance for head coach Laura Baker’s team just days after the Lady Rams suffered their largest margin of defeat on the season. Overwhelmed by an early offensive onslaught, the VCU field hockey team struggled to overcome an early 4-0 halftime deficit to Richmond on Oct. 13.
The Spiders notched three goals in the first 20 minutes and outshot VCU 22 to five overall en route to a 6-1 victory. A Soares goal in the 52nd minute served as the lone score for the Lady Rams.
Coach Baker’s club took on St. Francis (Penn.) this past Sunday at home, but the game finished too late to be included in production.
Four regular season games remain for VCU to gain ground in the standings before the A-10 championship begins on Nov. 8 in Amherst, Mass.
Only the top four teams qualify for tournament play, and the Lady Rams will have to take care of business if they want to be a repeat participant in postseason play.
This week’s matchups against Lock Haven University (Oct. 25) and the University of Massachusetts (Oct. 27) will be critical in determining VCU’s fate. Lock Haven is 0-2 in conference play but boasts a 10-5 overall record while U.Mass stands atop the A-10 with a 2-0 conference record and an 11-4 record overall.