The women’s field hockey team continued its winning streak after another strong performance from sophomore Michelle Relin, who led the ‘Jackets to a thrilling 5-4 victory over SUNY New Paltz on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Fauver Stadium. The game was UR’s first at home since Sept. 4, but the weather did not provide a comfortable homecoming for the team as rain fell throughout the contest. Despite the poor weather, both teams fought hard in a back-and-forth game where neither team was ever separated by more than one goal.
Only 11 minutes into the game, Relin knocked in her first goal of the game on a hard shot that was assisted by junior Megan Kell. New Paltz responded later in the half, though, tying things back up at one. As play wound down in the first half, it appeared the game would remain tied at 1-1 as time expired. Relin, however, had other ideas, scoring her second goal of the half as time expired. Freshman Callie Fisher got an assist on the goal, giving the ‘Jackets a boost of confidence midway through the contest.
The second half, however, was initially all New Paltz. The visitors scored twice within the first 10 minutes, giving themselves a 3-2 lead going into the latter stages of the affair. Continuing the trend of this roller coaster game, senior Katie Flaschner scored on a backhand at 62:00, bringing the game back to a tie. Four minutes later, New Paltz regained the lead after a rebound was knocked in past goalie and senior Madison Wagner. The goal was scored with only about five minutes remaining, making a UR comeback a tall order.
Despite the dire situation the team found themselves in, the ‘Jackets were able to elevate their level of play quickly. Fisher found the back of the net with only 3:18 remaining, evening up the score at four on a shot assisted by senior Lindsey Randall. This comeback allowed UR to breathe a temporary sign of relief and reset before the expected overtime period would begin. But Relin clearly had no interest in playing an extra period and, with three seconds remaining, instead took a shot from the right wing that flew into the net, giving the ‘Jackets a thrilling 5-4 win and Relin her 11th goal and second hat trick of the season.
Relin’s trifecta of goals that game brought her even higher up on the Division III leaderboard for goals per game. Relin’s average of 1.38 is good enough for 15th in the country, while her 11 goals is tied for the fifth most of any player in Division III.
Relin was not the only ‘Jacket whose play has garnered extra attention, though, as Fisher was named Liberty League Rookie of the Week for her equally impressive performance against New Paltz.
The YellowJackets currently sit atop the Liberty League standings with a 7-1 record and two critical games against conference foes upcoming. On Friday, Sept. 27, the ‘Jackets will take on Vassar College, followed by a match-up against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, Sept. 28. Both games will be played at home at 4 p.m. at Fauver Stadium.
Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.