Sports

Quick start by Friars downs lethargic field hockey

Goal from Miller ’16 marks lone bright spot in tough performance against crosstown foe

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, September 18, 2015

After the women’s field hockey team went 2-1 in three previous one-goal games, a midweek trip to Providence College yielded an entirely different result — an extensive 6-1 defeat at the hands of Bruno’s crosstown rival was the worst loss of the season so far for the Bears.

“We were probably still in school,” said Head Coach Jill Reeve. “We were three goals behind before our team was ready to hit the first ball. We need to be ready to go right from the get-go.”

Bruno (2-3) started out of the gate slowly, with the Friars (1-6) pouncing on an uncleared penalty corner. Goalie Katie Hammaker ’19 was able to stop the initial shot but could not successfully clear the ball, and the sharper Providence team took advantage, slotting the ball into an empty net.

On the second corner of the game, Providence struck again with a well-orchestrated set play that resulted in a diving tip-in at the far post that left Bruno’s defense completely helpless.

Fifteen minutes in, controversy arose when the Friars scored their third goal of the game. A corner was saved by Hammaker before bouncing around in the box a few times, only to land on a Providence stick. The shot went off the crossbar and bounced down and out of the goal, but the referee on that half called it a goal. After conferring with his colleague on the other side, the goal call stood.

A lethargic opening 20 minutes was remedied after Alexis Miller ’16 scored straight off of one of the Bears’ two main corner plays, which had struggled to produce goals in the earlier stages of the season. Emily Arciero ’16 stopped the insert and used Katarina Angus ’17 as a decoy before sliding the ball to Miller, who forcefully struck the back board to cut the deficit to two.

The corner “was beautiful,” Reeve said. “Some of the corners we’re doing right now are great, and Alexis slamming it home was a great feeling for us.”

Brown’s defense kept the scoreline at 3-1 for the rest of the first half, but the offense was unable to make any progress, as Providence’s midfield effectively shut down passes from defense moving forward.

Reeve switched up the second half starters, inserting Katherine Kallergis ’18 and Brooke Bonfiglio ’17 in an effort to inject some energy into the game. The move worked for a couple of minutes, as the Bears were able to secure a penalty corner but were unable to convert it. Shortly after Brown’s spurt of momentum, Providence got a corner and after a few saves and deflections, the Friars were awarded a stroke when a shot hit a Brown foot right before the goal.

“This season, we’ve done some incredible things already in a little amount of time,” said captain Anna Masini ’16. “It took some time to gain some momentum and get a better shift, but we needed it to last longer. Our whole bench got in the game and it was nice to see them provide a spark for us.”

“We were trying to (respond well),” Reeve said. “We were drawing on some energy that we created for one another, but I don’t think it was enough against this team on this day.”

The ensuing penalty stroke was coolly converted, effectively ending any chance that the Bears had of coming back. Providence ended with 12 corners to Brown’s five and 22 shots to Bruno’s five, comprehensively dominating Brown from start to finish.

“We started off too slow,” Masini said. “It was our first midweek game, which shouldn’t have impacted us the way it did. We dug ourselves a hole against a Providence team that was 0-6 and excited to get some goals on. They were a good team, and we were trying to find our way back in the game but the outcome was not what we wanted.”

The Friars play in the Big East, a conference that features some of the best teams in college field hockey and are used to picking on Brown, typically outshooting and out-cornering it significantly. Last year, Providence mustered a whopping 32 shots, but were shutout by Shannon McSweeney ’15 en route to an impressive 2-0 win.

The loss was the worst that the Bears have suffered since a 6-1 loss to Dartmouth last September.

Playing in the middle of the week was definitely a factor in the loss, Reeve said.

“But it was our first opportunity to have that experience,” she added. “So we’re going to be able to learn from that and be more prepared next time, because there is a mental preparation that you have to do between what you do in school and what you do on the field.”

Bruno will look to rebound from the tough loss when it takes on Saint Joseph’s at home at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“The younger players haven’t experienced a game like this one,” said Masini. The seniors “just wanted to tell them that this isn’t the game. We have a game against St. Joe’s, and we’re looking to show who we are. We just need to grow, build and learn.”