Field Hockey falls to #9 Penn State but dominates at Bucknell | The Triangle
Field Hockey

Field Hockey falls to #9 Penn State but dominates at Bucknell

Senior Meghan Plank follows through on a shot during the Oct. 3 game against Pennsylvania State University. (Ken Chaney - The Triangle)
Senior Meghan Plank follows through on a shot during the Oct. 3 game against Pennsylvania State University. (Ken Chaney – The Triangle)

The Drexel University Dragons were back at it Oct. 3 playing a tough team from The Pennsylvania State University at Buckley Field. Penn State came into the match ranked No. 9 in the country and they played like it. The Dragons came into this game having won three straight games, two of which featured a great offense and all three were played exceptionally well on defense.

Early on, the Dragons looked like they would be able to handle their tough opponent. However, in the 11th minute the Nittany Lions took over the game forcing the Dragons to have an uphill battle in an already tough match.

Penn State would neutralize Drexel’s offense and dominate their defense, beating the Dragons 5-0. Penn State improved to 9-2 and Drexel fell to 6-4.

Penn State’s own Taylor Herold began the scoring for the Nittany Lions. She was able to put one past Jantien Gunter in the 11th minute, making the score 1-0. Neither team was able to put any type of scoring drive together until the 30th minute when Penn State again scored once again when Amanda Dinunzio scored her fourth goal of the season.

The beginning of the second half is where the game got out of hand for the Dragons. In the first 12 minutes Penn State beat Drexel’s defense for three unanswered goals, by Natalie Buttinger, Laura Gebhart, and Herold, putting the game out of reach at 5-0.

Unfortunately the Dragons were unable to score in this game. They found a few opportunities in the late minutes of the game to score, but Penn State’s goalkeeper, Kylie Licata, saved a shot from Allyson Fuller to keep Drexel off the board.

Although it was a tough loss, the Dragons redeemed themselves just two days later on Oct. 5 against Bucknell University. This game went according to plan for the Dragons as they seemed to take their anger and frustration from their last match out on the Bisons.

The Dragons went on an offensive attack in the first few minutes of the first half. Bucknell’s Shanon Keen saved two Drexel shots, but Rachael Sumfest was determined to score. In the 11th minute Sumfest was able to put one past Keen for her sixth goal of the year.

Bucknell would then go on the offensive, trying to even the score at one but a tough Dragons defense forced shots wide. The Bisons would end their offensive try with a shot on goal, which was saved by Gunter keeping the score at 1-0.

Drexel took one last offensive set at the end of the half in an attempt to go up by two right before the second half. Sumfest would again score to tally her seventh goal of the season and the second for the Dragons.

The second half was dominated by the Dragons. The Bisons attempted another offensive set in the opening minutes but a blocked shot and another save by Gunter halted Bucknell’s efforts..

In the 45th minute, who other than Sumfest would score the Dragons.

Drexel scored again three more times without any offensive retaliation from Bucknell. Idrienne Walker, Jenna Knouse, and Mary Lynam would all find the back of the net. The 6-0 victory was the Dragons seventh of the season.

This was a nice bounce back win for the Dragons and seeing as they will be entering conference play it was important to boost the team’s confidence. Conference play is the biggest part of the season for the Dragons so all early season games give the Dragons a chance to to fix the holes in their game.

Drexel has showed great improvement on offense, but more importantly their defense is staying, consistently sharp.

“Looking at our team as a whole, I believe our team’s style would be best described as a strong team defense,” Head Coach Denise Zelenak said,

It is this team defense that has brought the Dragons to 7-4 overall, and will be the factor that helps Drexel beat conference foes.

Drexel will kick off conference play Oct. 10 against Hofstra University at Buckley Field. Drexel will look to begin their conference games with big wins and get a head start on the rest of the division.