Field Hockey Edged by No. 20 Michigan State

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the Hawks faced the nationally ranked Spartans of Michigan State on So Sweet A Cat Field to conclude their five game home stand. MU had the momentum early in the 22nd minute as senior forward and team captain Amanda Schoenfeld scored the first goal of the game. Three minutes later, a controversial call gave Michigan State a penalty stroke. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Alli Helwig put it past starting goalie Christen Piersanti to tie the score at one leaving momentum up for grabs.

With the game tied again both teams were looking for that next goal. The Hawks opportunity came in the 31st minute when seniors Schoenfeld and Trish O’Dwyer seemed to be passing the torch to freshman forward Meg Donahue when the two seniors passed it back and forth leaving Donahue open for an easy goal giving the Hawks a 2-1 lead. MU’s defense continued to play well holding the Spartans to minimal scoring chances.

With the clock winding down in the first half, junior midfielder Cori Allen set up the two seniors once again as she sent one into the circle. O’Dwyer tipped a pass to Schoenfeld who quickly passed it back to O’Dwyer who had an open net after she faked out the Spartans’ goalie and knocked in her fifth goal of the year. The Hawks went into half time up 3-1.

“We had a really balanced first half, from playing good defense to balanced midfielders to great attackers,” said head coach Carli Figlio.

In the first half of play, MU outshot the Spartans 13-5, but the second half went in favor of Michigan State. With just over fifteen minutes left in the game, the Hawks were able to maintain the lead. The Spartans then turned things around, scoring two goals at the 10 and five minute marks bringing the game to a tie at 3-3. Late in the second half, the Spartans scored again producing a 4-3 lead, but after a talk between the two officials the goal was called off and the game remained tied.

Still tied at 3-3, the Hawks and Spartans went into overtime. Michigan State scored the decisive goal. With the win, the Spartans improve to 7-4 while the Hawks fall to 4-6.

Coach Figlio believes that if the second half performance could match their first half dominance, the Hawks would have pulled out a win against the nationally ranked no. 20 Michigan State.

“I think putting two halves together is really important for us, just finishing the game and making sure the other team cannot come back,” said Coach Figlio.

Although the Hawks did not win against the Spartans, they were able to earn their fifth victory of the season when facing the Villanova Wildcats on Sunday evening.

Courtesy of O’Dwyer’s hat trick, the Hawks posted a 4-1 victory and improved to 5-6 on the season while Villanova is currently 3-8. O’Dwyer, who not only leads the program with 26 assists, also posted seven points for the second time in her career in Sunday’s game.

Although the Hawks came out as victors, they had a slow start. The game’s first 15 minutes showcased a dominant Villanova team as they outshot MU 8-1 and gained a majority of the corner opportunities. The Hawks gained momentum and were able to be first on the board with an unassisted goal from O’Dwyer in the 19th minute of play.

O’Dwyer lead the charge again in the 27th minute as she passed the ball to Donahue who scored giving the Hawks a two point advantage.

Villanova came revamped after half time as they scored their first and only goal five minutes into the second half via a penalty stroke. O’Dwyer answered the Wildcats goal with one of her own pushing the lead to two once more. With less than three minutes on the clock, O’Dwyer scored the final goal of the game and secured the Hawks’ win.

MU freshman goalkeeper Christen Piersanti made seven stops to gain her fourth win of the year.

The team will compete in their last non-conference games as they face Penn on Thursday, Oct. 9 in Philadelphia, PA and Sunday, Oct. 12 against Rutgers at So Sweet A Cat field.