Field Hockey Wins League Opener vs OWU
Squeezing out close games is starting to become second nature to the Oberlin field hockey team. Juniors Ashley Allen and Christine Politis were the heroines for the Yeowomen who defeated both Transylvania College and Ohio Wesleyan 2-1 at home on Sept. 9 and 13, respectively.
Oberlin entered last Saturday’s game against Transylvania coming off a tough loss to Centre College 2-1. With a squad that currently has no substitutes at field player positions due to injuries to sophomore Grace Eginton’s wrist and first-year Danielle Gilliam’s back, people were worried fatigue would be a factor as the season progresses.
If there were any people with worries, Oberlin silenced them with a dominant performance against their non-league opponent. Although the first half ended with Oberlin only up 1-0, thanks to a goal created by Politis and finished by sophomore Prunie Brox, their sharp play showed that there was no hangover from their recent loss. Oberlin outshot Transylvania 11-5 in the first period, with an advantage in penalty corners at 9-0.
Oberlin was equally dominant in the second half, outshooting the away team 10-2. Despite outplaying Transylvania, Oberlin could not finish their chances, and were left pondering all those missed opportunities when they gave up a goal with 14 minutes left in the game. But instead of giving up, the Yeowomen scored within 20 seconds of the restart off a goal from Allen, clinching the victory.
According to junior goalkeeper Lauren Malinowski, who had six saves in the game, Oberlin’s sharp play was a result of their passing. “We moved the ball well. We played our passing game.” The latter refers to playing short, crisp passes instead of ‘slamming’ the ball down the entire field and chasing after it. This allows the team to conserve energy, especially since there are no subs.
The second game of the week saw the Yeowomen begin the defense of their conference championship when Oberlin hosted Ohio Wesleyan on a dreary afternoon. If Oberlin’s attacking potential was not clear enough in the first game, where they tallied 21 total shots, it was clearly evident in their first league game as they totaled 27 shots against the Battling Bishops. Six Yeowomen had at least four shots or more, which Malinowski was very happy about, despite a mediocre performance from the team.
“Prunie has been scoring goals for us, but it’s been a good sign that more people are taking lots of shots,” said Malinowski. “We played so much better against Transylvania. Today we played a lot more slamming and less short passes.”
While it was another tight game, all the damage had been done in the first half. Senior co-captain Clare Cheney scored an unassisted goal 24 minutes into the game, followed by the Bishops tying the game up a minute later. Right when the dust started to settle, Allen turned provider to Politis who scored the winning goal.
The defense had another strong game, while Malinowski had nine more saves. Although the team is not converting the chances, the goalie knows that it is a matter of time until it comes.
“We have had the opportunities, we just can’t score. We have the potential though.”
These close games have showed that the Yeowomen can dig deep when it matters. Malinowski has been impressed with the improvement in everyone’s individual play from game to game. “People have been stepping it up, since everyone has to play every minute of every game.”
The Yeowomen have kicked off the regular season on a good note and are hoping to repeat their league championship from last year.
“Everyone was nervous at first with no subs, but now we all are excited because we know what we are capable of,” said Malinowski.
Oberlin is now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Yeowomen play at home against Denison University on Sept. 16.