Lacrosse Drops Key NCAC Gameby Steven Manthe
The Yeowomen suffered two disappointing losses this past week, falling last Saturday at home to the Alfred University Saxons 15-14 in overtime and at the Denison Big Red Tuesday, 16-5. The losses dropped their record to 6-5, 5-1 NCAC.
Oberlin jumped out to an 8-4 halftime lead, only to see the Saxons respond with 10 goals in the second half, forcing the game into overtime. After a scoreless first overtime, Alfred senior Lindsay Calkins scored 15 seconds into the second OT, giving the Saxons the victory.
Senior Lydia Ries led the Yeowomen with 9 goals, followed by three from senior Margaret McFalls. Junior goalie Alex Grindle had 13 saves. Alfred was lead by senior Lauren D'Aurio, who scored six goals, raising her total to 61 on the season.
"Our problem came from our second-half slump, which has been one of our weaknesses all season," said senior Irit Altman. "Alfred gained momentum and confidence from the four goals scored early in the second half. Their winning goal in overtime was a result of the fact that we had let them catch up to us in the second half."
"They chipped away at our lead and took it into OT," said assistant coach Blake New. "They happened to get the goal. Sometimes you don't get the right bounces."
"Things like that happen in overtime," echoed Grindle. "It was one of the best games we've played all season."
The Yeowomen were looking to recover against NCAC powerhouse Denison, who entered the contest tied for first in the conference with Oberlin. Any hopes for redemption against the Big Red were quickly dashed, however, as Denison jumped out to an 8-0 lead midway through the first half. Oberlin was never able to recover, getting outscored 6-3 in the second half to fall 16-5. Denison's record improved to 6-4, 6-0 NCAC.
Ries again lead Oberlin in scoring, tallying four goals. McFalls, suffering from a flu-like illness, contributed the other goal. All the goals were unassisted. Amy Hemmelgarn paced Denison with five goals and three assists, followed by Laura Peace with three goals and an assist. First-year goalie Amy Cobden had seven saves.
"If we could cancel the first 10 minutes of this game, the score would look a lot different," said senior Sarah Bergman. "Once we were settled on defense, we did all right, especially in our zone."
"I don't think we expected the first four goals to come as fast as they did, and we were delayed in our reaction," said Altman. "There wasn't any breakdown of the defense or of the attack, it was just that we had not played a team as strong as Denison since Colorado College. The intimidation factor took some time to get over."
Despite the 11-goal loss, the team is confident that they can learn from their mistakes and compete against Denison, should they meet in the conference tournament.
"It's one of the many lessons we learned for the next time we play. They will come out rearing to go and we have to be able to match them from the first draw," said Bergman.
"We learned a lot about how to prepare for them the next time," said New. "We can expose their weaknesses."
"We have some serious homework to do in figuring out how to stop their fast breaks," added Bergman. "Our goal of winning the championship became all the more concrete. We need to play at a level to beat Denison. We have a week-and-a-half to get there. I have full confidence that we can do it."
In preparation for the conference tournament, the Yeowomen will host Kenyon Saturday at 1 p.m. on the soccer field. This will be the last home game for Ries, Bergman, McFalls, Altman and Amanda Kolker. The NCAC tournament begins May 2.
Copyright © 2000, The Oberlin Review.
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