Shawnessy Dusseau scored her first goal of the season and Pamela Sheffied recorded the shutout to lead the field hockey team to a 2-0 win over Nazareth College on Wednesday.
Dusseau, who was playing forward for the first time in her career, made the most of the opportunity. Just 2:24 into the game, the senior took the feed from freshman Mary DiMatteo at the top of the circle and swept the ball into the opposite corner.
On the opposite end of the field, the Yellowjackets were working hard defensively and stopping a lot of offensive movement, succeeding in recovering back to keep the ball away from the goal. Sheffield made one stop en route to her third shutout of the season.
“I rely completely on the defense and the field players have been playing super well. This game wasn’t my most challenging but that’s because of how well the defense and all of us have been working together,” Sheffield said.
“The defense is playing well which is helping Pam, who’s been playing really well when the ball does come her way,” Head Coach Michelle Andre added.
Offensively the team is capitalizing on its scoring opportunities, a key element in helping them achieve a 3-1 record.
“The offense is getting better every game, which allows us to take more shots than ever before. What we’re aiming at is more midfielders taking shots, not just the starting forwards,” Andre said.
Before the first half was over the Yellowjackets’ offense showed its strength with another goal at 24:43, this time unassisted, by sophomore Erin Charnow.
The team’s focus is clearly seen by UR’s outshooting the Golden Eagles 10-3. The Yellowjackets are undefeated this season when they lead in shots on goal. UR holds a combined 54-6 advantage in those games.
Only four games into the young season, the inexperienced squad has already begun gelling as a unit.
“We have a young team but we’re getting better and stronger and more cohesive as the season goes on,” Dusseau said.
On Saturday, UR will travel to the heart of central New York to take on Utica College. Sharing the same 3-1 record as UR, Utica poses a much greater challenge to the Yellowjackets than some of the weaker opponents they have beaten thus far.
“We just have to go in and play to the level we know we can, every game is a challenge. If you go in not thinking about playing to the best of your ability, you put yourself as a disadvantage,” Sheffield said.
The team is optimistic that its strong start to the season will carry through into October.
“We’re excited for the game Saturday and psyched for the rest of the season,” Dusseau said.
Rigby can be reached at email@example.com.