The Drexel field hockey team pulled out of the pack this past weekend with two big conference wins. The Dragons not only put themselves in position to make the postseason but also to secure home-field advantage in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
Before the Oct. 25 game against The College of William & Mary, Drexel was in a three-way tie for third place in the CAA.
The Dragons obtained a 3-1 victory over the Tribe, and senior co-captain Lindsay McArdle tied her career high with two goals in the game.
With fewer than six minutes remaining in the second half, Drexel earned its fifth penalty corner of the half. McArdle received the ball near the left post from Christina Conrad and lifted the ball into the top-right corner of the cage to extend Drexel’s lead to 3-1.
“We really pulled everything together for the William & Mary game. Our attack was strong and created great opportunities, and our defensive end made it tough on their attack,” McArdle said. “It was just a really fun game to play as a team.”
The Dragons then traveled to Harrisonburg, Va., to take on James Madison University Oct. 27.
The score was 0-0 at the end of regulation with the help of goalie Jantien Gunter, who made four crucial saves to send the game to overtime.
Senior co-captain Elise DiDonato found the back of the cage in the second minute of overtime, moving the Dragons to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Although the win was not pretty, at this point in the season, a win is a win.
“James Madison showed up ready to play and gave us a good game on Sunday,” McArdle said. “We pulled out the overtime win, and we are going to take it and move forward to [the University of] Delaware and Towson [University].”
The Dragons now sit in second place in the conference, behind a Delaware team that is undefeated in the CAA and ranked No. 19 in the country.
“Right now, we are making sure we take care of our bodies and prepare for our last regular-season games mentally,” McArdle said. “We have learned a lot this season, and right now is the time that we need to bring it all together come game time.”
With only two games left, the Dragons need to win at least one more to clinch a playoff spot. If Drexel can win the next two games, they will be tied with one loss in the CAA with Delaware and will have home-field advantage in the CAA Tournament.
Drexel will take on the Blue Hens Friday night, Nov. 1, at Vidas Field. If history repeats itself, it should be the most exciting game of the year.
“I am really excited to face Delaware on Friday night. Last year we beat them in the semifinals with 4.9 seconds left, so this game is going to be a battle,” McArdle said.
The Dragons will then play Towson at home on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 3. Depending on the outcome of the Delaware game, Sunday’s match could be the most crucial game of the season for Drexel.
The team’s three seniors will be playing the last two regular-season games of their careers. DiDonato, McArdle and Kristen Focht all understand how important these games are.
“The last stretch of regular season is really hitting home for the three of us,” McArdle said. “We realize that we are getting to play our last field hockey games as Dragons, and we are just savoring each moment.”
The Dragons have been battling all year to put themselves in this position. Come Friday night, the Dragons will face off against one of their biggest rivals for the top spot in the CAA — what more would you want out of a prime-time game?