The field hockey team marched into SUNY Cortland Wednesday with an unblemished record and an upset on the mind. But after a hard-fought first half, the Yellowjackets fell apart late in the second frame and left with their first loss of the season.
Coming off back-to-back shutouts of Elmira College and SUNY Oswego, UR walked into its game against the No. 7 Dragons with confidence and enthusiasm.
“We thought we had them this year,” said senior Kelly Melcher, who has never beaten Cortland.
UR was firing on all cylinders in the first half, playing strong defense and communicating well on offense. At halftime neither team had scored, though the Yellowjackets held a 6-1 advantage in shots on goal.
“At the beginning of the game we worked well together,” junior Erin Charnow said. “We were real close to scoring and getting it done the whole game, but something was just off.”
The scoreboard remained blank until the 22:03 mark when Cortland’s Ashley Ostrander guided a shot past UR goaltender Pamela Sheffield for the first score of the game.
With the clock winding down, the Yellowjackets shifted their focus to the offensive end, leaving the defense susceptible to attack.
After holding UR at bay, the Red Dragons made a drive of their own toward the net. Cortland would go on to score three more goals by game’s end, shutting out the Yellowjackets and handing them their first defeat of 2003.
“There were just too many breakdowns by the end,” Charnow said. “We could never recover.”
The loss moves the Yellowjackets to 2-1 while the Red Dragons remained unbeaten in two games this season.
On Sept. 6, UR hosted Oswego and got a big offensive boost from players both old and new.
The Yellowjackets won 4-0, getting goals from a senior, a junior, a sophomore and a freshman in the second half.
Charnow, senior Kaitlin Poeth, freshman Celinda Fletcher and sophomore Sally Jensen all scored in a span of just over 21 minutes to pace the Yellowjackets.
UR dominated Oswego on offense, out-shooting the Lakers by a whopping 18-1 margin.
Sheffield earned the shutout, though she never made a single save.
In their Sept 3. season opener, the Yellowjackets struck first and never let up, cruising to a 2-0 victory over Elmira.
It was sweet revenge for UR, who fell to the Soaring Eagles twice last season.
Gerton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.