In light of their inconsistent start, the Drexel University field hockey team is looking for good news to hang their hats on.
The good news for the Dragons is that so far in this early season, the team has not been playing that poorly. Each loss was decided by three goals or less; two of these three games were decided by just one goal.
The Dragons’ defense could be compared to the “Legion of Boom,” the name for the great Seattle Seahawks defense in the NFL. In each of their six games the Dragons own legion of boom has allowed no more than three goals in a game. In fact, in six games played so far opponents have tallied a total of six goals, for an average of one goal per game.
With a defense like this, it is hard to imagine why the Dragons are just .500 on this fresh season.
The downfall for the Dragons is the offense. In the three games that Drexel has won they have scored at least three goals. In their three losses the Dragons have been shutout; they were unable to tally even one goal. What makes these losses even worse is that the defense has played so well, in two of these loses just two goals would have been enough to win.
On Sept. 13, the Dragons made the trip to play No. 3 University of Maryland, College Park. Both teams came into the match with a record of 3-1, and the game was as tough as advertised. The defense for the Dragons played as well, and definitely was not the reason for the loss.
Jantien Gunter led the defensive effort in-goal with 18 saves, which was a career high for her. Gunter was able display great quickness in-goal and kept the Dragons in the game, but never received any offensive help. Drexel could only muster up four shots on goal. Two came from Allyson Fuller, one from Mary Lynam and another from Christina Conrad.
The scoring for Maryland mainly came from Moira Putsch. Putsch scored the first goal of the game in the 14th minute. She would score her second goal quickly in the second half. Putsch came into this game scoring just one goal on the season and ended with three for the year. The third goal for the Terrapins came from Sarah Sprink in the 56th minute.
Although it was a loss, the Dragons displayed their toughness in this game. Gunter especially showed how important she is to the team and the vaunted Dragon defense.
“Jantien has been playing excellent in goal, which creates confidence and increases communication within our entire squad,” head coach Denise Zelenak said.
With Gunter playing the way she is, the defense can be aggressive and take chances because they know Gunter will provide great backup in goal.
In their next game, the Dragons took on No. 18 American University. The Dragons would play even better on defense allowing just one goal. However, the offense would struggle much like it did against Maryland.
American would strike first in the first 35 minutes of the game for the only goal of the game. Natalie Konerth would score off of an assist from Haley Bowcutt. Drexel would put four shots on goal in the opening half, but just one hit frame. Jessica McCarthy and Christina Conrad split the shots.
The second half started off slow for both teams and neither team was able to put points on the board in the second half of the game. Rachel Sumfest put a shot on goal with 23 minutes to play, but the Eagles’ Kate McBeath turned it away to keep the Dragons off the scoreboard. Drexel would have a second chance to tie the game off of a penalty shot with 27 seconds left, but were denied by McBeath to keep her shutout intact.
Drexel fell to 3-3 on the season, and American would increase their record to 4-2. The Dragons will return to action at Temple University Sept. 21. The game against Temple will be big for Drexel, as it is important to stop this losing streak and avoid falling below .500 on the year.
The Dragons will look to get better sets on offense to help take pressure off their defense, which has continuously played great. Coach Zelenak mentioned a greater emphasis in practice for the offense and confirmed that the team will continue to work on different ways to increase our return in the “red zone.”
It is still early in the season, so the Dragons have time to work out the kinks in the offense, and have plenty of chances to show their improvement.