The women’s field hockey team got off to a dangerous start against the SUNY Oswego Lakers on Nov. 6 at Fauver Stadium in their first playoff game since 1992. The game was not their best of the season but the Yellowjackets came out on top in the end by a score of 1-0.
Keeping the ball on the UR side of the field, Oswego nearly scored within the opening minutes. Oswego finally did finish, but fortunately for the Yellowjackets, the goal was waived off by the referees due to an illegal touch. After a slow start to the quarterfinal matchup, the Yellowjackets gradually began to get their chances on goal as the game went on. With 16:09 left in the first half, junior forward Kaitlin Poeth took a shot and scored off of a fast break. Just as she did in the season opening 3-0 win against Oswego, Poeth came up huge, and was responsible for netting all of the goals.
As play continued, Oswego did a good job of forcing corners and keeping the ball in the UR end. Yet time and time again, the Lakers simply could not finish. As the gloomy sky turned dark, both teams fought furiously under the lights, in an effort to keep their seasons alive as the clock wound down to the end of the first half.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Yellowjackets did a much better job of keeping Oswego on the defensive. With 23 minutes remaining, former All-American head coach Michelle Andre called a time-out to regroup the team. After the time-out, UR came out poised, clearing the ball from their end of the field and creating numerous offensive opportunities.
The Lakers could feel their season coming to an end as they fought desperately for a goal. With 15:40 left in the half, the ball passed into the Yellowjacket goal, guarded by junior goalkeeper Pamela Sheffield, but again the goal was waived off by the officials. Sheffield’s shutout remained in tact for the rest of the game despite Oswego’s final measures to extend their season.
As the sky turned to rain immediately following the game, hopes were high. According to the game winning goal scorer, Poeth, “We’re going to the state championship.”
“I wouldn’t say that it was our most skilled performance of the year, but tournament play rarely is. It’s about heart and who wants it more, and our team came out and wanted it more tonight and they deserved it,” Andre said.
This was the first time, since 1985, that the Yellowjackets have won a quarterfinal game.
With the victory, UR obtained their 12th win of the season, something the team had not done since 1984. Next, UR moved on to the semifinals where they faced rival Ithaca College on Nov. 9, at Manhattenville College. UR lost 4-2 and went on to finish fourth in the state tournament.
Berkowitz can be reached at email@example.com.