Field Hockey Loses in Semis
“[The season] had a lot of ups and downs,” explained field hockey senior goalkeeper and captain Lauren Malinowski. The team had a six game losing streak in the middle of the season but then rebounded to finish second in the league. They almost missed making the conference tournament for a second year but were able to pull out a crucial victory against Denison in the last game of the regular season to clinch a playoff spot.
Several weeks earlier, Oberlin found itself in a hole. Oberlin fell to Wooster before fall break 3-5, with Wooster out shooting Oberlin 22-14. Junior Abigail “Prunie” Brox scored a hat trick with two of her goals coming in the second half, but it was too little, too late.
The Yeomen bounced back with a 3-0 victory over last-placed Earlham two days later on Saturday, Oct. 20. Three different players scored for Oberlin in the game: Brox, first-year Taylor Rogers and senior Kaitlin Barrer. Oberlin had more than twice as many shots on goal as Earlham. Malinowski recorded her fifth shutout of the year.
Unfortunately, Oberlin could not maintain its winning ways and fell in a 0-1 loss to Wittenberg. After an early goal by Wittenberg, the game became a defensive stalemate with neither team gaining an advantage. Both teams had eleven shots on goal. Heading into the final game of the season, the team was almost out of the playoff picture.
“We didn’t think we were going to get into the tournament; we had to win that game against Denison,” explained Malinowski. But even with their backs against the wall, the Yeowomen were able to pull though.
“Kaitlin Barrer was the hero for us that game,” extolled Malinowski. “Her first goal started the momentum.” Barrer scored both of Oberlin’s goals in the 2-1 victory over Denison, both in the second half.
On Wednesday, Oberlin traveled to first-seeded Wittenberg for the semi-final clash. The Yeowomen had a rough start to the game, going into halftime 1-4. Oberlin was outscored in the second half too, falling 3-7 overall. It was one of Oberlin’s worst losses of the year, especially disappointing after Oberlin played Wittenberg so tightly in the two regular season games. Earlier in the season, the Yeomen had shut out Wittenberg in a 1-0 victory.
“You’re always hoping for one more,” said Coach Deb Ranieri, on the team’s season ending loss.
Ranieri reserved special praise for her five graduating seniors. “They put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into field hockey,” said Ranieri. “Overall, they had great four years playing [field] hockey; we will definitely miss the seniors.”
Since the team is losing a strong senior class, the underclassmen know they will have to step up if they are to challenge for the league title next year. Ranieri is optimistic about the future and the direction in which the team is heading. “We always have really good prospects.”
While Oberlin did not repeat the success of the 2005 team, as Ranieri noted, it “took a step in the right direction” by making it to the conference playoffs. The team has a foundation to build on and hopefully it can improve upon it this coming season.