Women’s field hockey split road openers

Sophia Belletti
Contributing Writer

Head coach Laura Baker pictured with junior midfielder Kendall Farino drawing up a play. Courtesy by VCU Athletics.

The VCU women’s field hockey team split two games on the road to open the 2014-15 season under second year head coach Laura Baker.

The Lady Rams clinched their first win of the season after defeating Liberty University 2-1 on Sept. 5. Baker’s team picked up their first goal at the 22 minute mark when senior midfielder Nicola Breeman hit a shot in the left corner. The score remained 1-0 until the end of the first half.

Midway through the second half, VCU freshman forward Jamee Albright recovered a rebound and chalked up her first collegiate goal, putting the Lady Rams up 2-0.

In the last six minutes of the game the Liberty Flames picked up a goal after senior forward Nicole Simms got a short range shot past junior goal keeper Kendall Clifton. Still, the Lady Rams finished a score better and won the game 2-1.

After the game, Clifton, who registered 12 saves in goal, was happy with the end result.

“I am extremely proud of how our team fought until the end,” Clifton said. “Everyone played with all their heart and left everything out on the field. I couldn’t ask for a better team to stand in front of me.”

Entering the second game of the season, Baker had three points she wanted her team to focus on: play with intensity, play with a high level of basic skill, and to have fun. The formula seemed to work as the team got their first win.

“When players enjoy what they do they ultimately work harder and produce more positive results,” Baker said.

In the first game of the season, the Lady Rams lost a tough matchup to Drexel University 3-1 on Aug. 29.  The Drexel Dragons took the lead in the 22nd minute when sophomore midfielder Jessica McCarthy hit a shot off a penalty corner from top of the arc. The score remained 1-0 entering the break at half.

The Dragons would come out strong in the second half, scoring two goals in the 42nd and 49th minute.

Not ready to concede defeat, the Lady Rams managed to get on the board in the 53rd minute when freshman forward Alexis Albright hit a shot, assisted by Breeman.

Despite the three goals, the Rams backfield produced a strong performance only allowing ten shots on goal. Clifton registered seven saves in the cage.

Baker complimented the team for maintaining a up-tempo style of play throughout the game and felt the loss was something the team could build on.

“Although a loss is never a good thing we showed that we can play the style of hockey that we are striving to play.” Baker said.

 After finishing with a .500 record last year, Baker has worked to increase the Lady Ram’s level of play and win total this season.

“With the players that we have on the roster this year we have much more depth than in previous seasons,” Baker said. “As a team our biggest focus for the season is just to get better every time that we play hockey, be that in practice or a game.”

The Lady Rams played their third game of the season against Longwood University on Sunday, Sept. 7, but results were final in time for production.

Up next, the Rams play the backend of a five-game road trip against Central Michigan University on Sept. 14 and University of Michigan on Sept. 12.

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