When it rains it pours, and this weekend it certainly did pour on the Drexel Dragons field hockey team.
The Dragons faced Hofstra University Oct. 10 and then had to face No. 16 Northeastern University Oct. 12. Both games ended with the Dragons falling 2-1, a troublesome week of conference play for the team.
In the game against Hofstra, Drexel came out of the gates on the offensive. Rachael Sumfest was looking to put the Dragons up in the opening five minutes of the first half, but her shot was saved by Hofstra’s goalkeeper, Carys Swan. In the following possession by Hofstra, the Pride attempted to score three times but two great defensive stops by Rebecca Werner and a third by goal keeper Jantien Gunter kept the score tied at zero.
The first goal of the game came from Hofstra at around the 13-minute mark. Jonel Boileau netted the first goal of the game and her 10th on the season giving the Pride a 1-0 lead. A little bit less than three minutes later, the Dragons would get on the board as well. Christina Conrad made the score even for the Dragons with her fifth goal of the season.
The scoring in the first half halted there, with both teams held to one goal. Both teams had opportunities to score throughout the half, but each goalkeeper was determined to keep the score tied at one.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, their offensive woes continued in the second half. Only one goal was scored total in the second half and that was by the Pride, who scored just 5 minutes in.
Both defenses played outstandingly well, and it was clear from the beginning that in order to win this game one of the two teams would have to let up just a little bit. For the Dragons their defense was the one to allow what would be the game winning goal early in the second half. There was plenty of time, however, for a Drexel offensive push but the Hofstra defense was simply too electric.
Drexel would lose to the Pride 2-1, and would follow it up with a tough match against No. 16 Northeastern just two days later. The Dragons have had their fair share of tough losses this season, but they have shown a remarkable recovery in games following. So the hope was that in this game, the offense would produce a little bit more to help out a formidable defense.
For most of the first half, the game would be another defensive battle. Both teams played with energy and tenacity. Fortunately for the Dragons, Conrad would again score the first goal of the game in favor of Drexel, in the 21st minute. Her sixth goal of the season would be the only score for either team in the first half.
Drexel attempted another shot but it was saved by Northeastern’s goalkeeper, Becky Garner, in the remaining minutes of the first half. Until this point, the game had a similar feeling to the low scoring Hofstra game. This meant that in order to win this close game, the Dragons would need to score at least two more times. They have shown their defense can stop pretty much anyone. It was the offense that needed to show up.
Unfortunately, again the Dragons would have a tough time getting any shots in goal. Northeastern would score in the opening five minutes of the second half tying the game at 1-1. Once more, one goal would be the game winner for either team as each team’s defense would lock down and make sure to stop anything in their paths.
This would mean overtime, which so far in the season is a positive outcome for the Dragons, who are 1-0 in overtime games. The record would not improve; Northeastern scored just two minutes into the overtime period ending the game at 2-1.
This was a tough loss for the Dragons because it was another hard fought defensive game in which the offense could not take advantage of the great defensive stops. It stung even more because this would be another conference loss, bringing the Dragons’ conference record to 0-2.
With both losses, Drexel’s overall record is now 7-6. The Dragons have gone through stretches of winning and losing streaks throughout the season and it will be important for them to get back on track and start winning especially since four of the next five games are against conference opponents. Wins in those games can negate the two losses they suffered this past weekend.
Head coach Denise Zelenak was proud of the way her team bounced back in the Northeastern game Oct. 12. She said that the team did not have a great game against Hofstra, but they were able to come out and play better against Northeastern.
“Losing is never easy and this weekend could shake a team, but I am confident in our team’s ability to bounce back. The season is not over and our goals are still attainable. Tomorrow is another day and for us another opportunity.”
It is this ability to bounce back that should be a factor in their play against the University of Richmond on Sunday, Oct. 19. A win could significantly help this squad both in terms of improving their record but also in giving them some momentum heading into four straight conference games.
There are definitely many important games still left on the calendar for the Dragons, and they will be looking to overcome the challenges that still await them. Even with two conference losses early in conference play, Drexel has the ability to negate those losses with wins in the upcoming conference games.