Looking out to dominate all the way to the finals again this year, The College of Wooster field hockey team started out strong at home last week with a win over rivals Wittenberg on Sunday, Aug. 31. The Scots dominated the game from the start with Caitlyn O’Connor ’21 finding the back of the board in the first nine minutes. Wittenberg fought back around the 14th minute, but captain Sydney Schuster ’21 curbed their advance with a goal about four minutes later. After that there was no contest with O’Connor scoring once again at the 26th minute. She finished with a hat trick that day by scoring again in overtime. She credited her hat-trick to the cohesiveness of the team. “Obviously it was an amazing feeling putting in those three goals against Witt, but it was even better to share that win with my teammates who all played so hard and put everything into that game. Again, the chemistry was amazing, and we found each other so well and that was the reason why we won,” O’Connor said.
The Fighting Scots dominated throughout by outshooting the Wittenberg Tigers 14-10 and the same pressure came in the penalty shots with the Scots having an 8-5 lead over the Tigers.
But it wasn’t just the offense that brought home the game for Wooster: goalie Katie Shideler ’21 stopped the ball on six opportunities on finding the front of the board. She credited the defensive line for the small opportunity window given to Witt saying, “I have my faith in our defensive line, I know that when I see the ball coming to the back field our defensive line will handle it, and with each game our line as a unit has progressively become better.” She continued “It is a new team dynamic and we are yet to attain our full potential.”
On asking how she felt the first game went, captain Grace O’Leary ’20 stated, “This is the most talented and cohesive team I have played on in my four years at Wooster. Not only is there a lot of individual talent in the group, but we seem to have good team chemistry.” On the new talent this year, O’Leary continued, “Even the right side who is made of mostly first years is finding a lot of good connections. In our game against Witt, we were dominating the play and it was really exciting to see.” Echoing the praise on the new talent, Emma Hambright ’20 stated, “We’re a pretty young unit and better conditioned, but the important part is that our team is willing to grow further and become better.”
The Fighting Scots now come back from the last weekend with a decisive win over Transylvania, with the Scots bringing the game home with a score of 2-1. Schuster tied the game with a goal in the third quarter, but it was Jill Murray ’23 who broke the tie, giving the team a victory and scoring for the first time in her collegiate career. Contradictory to the score, the Scots actually dominated the stats with the team outshooting their opponents 11-3. Schuster on the game said, “We have been making opportunities to score, the only left is to perfect our execution.”
“In our game against Transylvania, we came out with lower energy than what we needed. However, we really picked it up in the second half and ended up winning the game. Our coach has been conditioning us in practice and it showed in the game by the fact that we were able to keep up the energy even in the second half,” O’Leary added. Schuster, who carved her name on the scoreboard on both games, when asked on the new team and her predictions for the season states, “I feel like that the team has changed a lot considering we lost a lot of seniors last year, we have a lot of first-years this year and this is actually turning out to be a great thing considering how the matches have been going so far, the dynamic has changed but it is better.”
Stinging from their loss to Centre on Sunday, the team is confident on their continued success for the rest of the season. O’Connor placed their immense, and well-deserved, faith in Coach Dixon. “We are definitely looking forward to improving throughout the season and looking to return to where we ended last season in the conference finals and win it this year. We have so much talent on this team and Coach Dixon has helped us tremendously so far and I’m truly looking forward to the big things we will do this season,” she said. Overall, the sentiment of confidence is echoed throughout the team. Hambright said, “I believe and trust this team. There is a bond between us, and I believe that it is this bond which will make us a better team.”