The Drexel University field hockey team split their road conference matches last weekend, falling to the College of William & Mary Tribe 2-1 in overtime Oct. 19, and defeating the Towson University Tigers 3-2 for their first conference win of the season Oct. 21. The weekend puts the team’s record at 8-8 overall with a 1-3 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play.
Against William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, it was a tight match. Drexel was able to find the net first in the 14th minute. Junior Tess Bernheimer scored off an assist from freshman Puk Thewessen to give the Dragons a 1-0 advantage.
The Tribe took control of the match in the second half. About 10 minutes into the second period, the Tribe were able to even the score on a tip-in goal by sophomore Melanie Strik, assisted by freshman Cara Menges. The Tribe kept up the assault, firing off 11 shots in the half, but strong defense by the Dragons — including seven saves from senior Erin Gilchrist — forced the game into overtime.
It didn’t take William & Mary long to net the game winner in the extra period. They were presented with a penalty stroke in the 74th minute and junior Christie van de Kamp finished to give the Tribe a 2-1 victory.
The win clinched a berth in the CAA playoffs for William & Mary. The Tribe outshot the Dragons 18-5, including 10-3 in shots on goal. Gilchrist led the game with seven saves while freshman Kimi Jones had two for William & Mary.
Going into their matchup against the 1-15 Towson University Tigers, the Dragons needed to take care of business. A loss would have made their path to the CAA playoffs even more of a challenge.
Things looked grim early as the Tigers got off to a strong start. Towson goals by senior Katie McNeel and sophomore Abby Webster in the first 10 minutes put the Dragons in an early hole. Drexel cut the deficit in half in the 15th minute on a corner opportunity. Junior Tess Horan deflected a shot from the top of the circle by senior Megan Wiest to put the score at 2-1.
In the second half, the Dragons were able to assert their dominance, not allowing a Towson shot all half. The equalizer came in the 47th minute when Bernheimer scored off of a corner opportunity. The goal was her team-leading 11th of the season.
Drexel would complete the comeback on another corner opportunity in the final minutes of the match. Senior Katie Pappas found senior Amy Ferguson on the left of the circle, and Ferguson buried the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute. Drexel would keep up the strong defense to ice the match, making the final score 3-2.
The win marked the Dragons’ first conference victory of the season. They outshot the Tigers 8-6 and 5-4 in shots on goal. Both goalkeepers, Drexel’s Gilchrist and Towson’s freshman Mackenzie Peacock, ended the match with two saves.
The Dragons will wrap up the regular season this weekend with a crucial pair of home games at Buckley Field against conference rivals. To keep playoff hopes alive, the Dragons must pick up a win against the Hofstra University Pride at 6 p.m., Oct. 26. If they defeat the Pride, the Dragons can clinch a spot in the conference playoffs if they get a victory against the Northeastern University Huskies Oct. 28 at noon.
If the team can’t secure the victory, they will need Hofstra to lose their match against No. 13 Delaware Oct. 28 and for the James Madison University Dukes to lose one of their matches this weekend (against either Towson or William & Mary) for the Dragons to earn a spot in the CAA playoffs.