I am not a big believer in “moral victories.”
But for the Swarthmore field hockey team, it would be hard to call Wednesday’s loss to the Ursinus Bears, ranked No. 2 in Division III, anything else.
Entering Wednesday, Swarthmore had faced Ursinus nine times since the Bears dropped from Division I to Division III in 2002. In those nine meetings, Swarthmore had scored a total of two goals.
Yesterday, Swarthmore scored three times in a 6-3 loss, but that score-line does not come close to mirroring the play on the field. Quite simply, the Garnet dominated Ursinus unlike any Centennial team has done in recent memory, generating a boost of confidence and a sending a clear statement to the rest of the Conference that “Swarthmore is no longer an easy win.”
For the match, Swarthmore took 13 corners to Ursinus’ three. In the opening fifteen minutes, the Garnet had six shots to the Bears’ one, including a drive from Julia Tallarico ’13 off the left post.
But it was Ursinus who would strike first, looking to match last year’s 11-0 victory over the Garnet. All-American Alyssa Thren and fellow senior Corinne Freeman led a counter-attack with Freeman one-timing a Thren pass past goaltender Gabriella Capone for the 1-0 lead. Thren scored one of her own in the 29th minute to double the lead.
But just over a minute later, the Garnet jumped on the scoreboard when Katie Teleky ’13 finished an Abby Lauder ’15 pass for her third goal of the season. It was the first time that Swarthmore had scored against Ursinus since 2005 and 2-1 was the halftime score as the Garnet completed the half with a 10-6 shot advantage.
Ursinus began to pull away in the second and opened up a 6-1 lead with four additional counter-attack goals despite the Garnet holding possession in the attacking third for the majority of the half.
Undeterred, Swarthmore continued to press forward and off a penalty corner, Lauder scored his first career goal after a Sophia Agathis ’13 was tipped by Nia Jones ’14 to the near post. With her stick on the turf, Lauder settled and was sure with her finish for the Garnet.
Just two minutes later, Teleky scored her second goal of the game off a scrum in front of the Ursinus net to make the final score 6-3. No Centennial team had scored three goals in a regular season game against Ursinus since 2005.
One year after the Swarthmore was outshot by Ursinus 32-6 for the game, the shots on Wednesday were even at 16 apiece. The Garnet return to play on Friday at Dickinson looking for their first Centennial victory of the season. One year ago, Swarthmore defeated the Red Devils 2-1.