The field hockey team reignited its flame after back-to-back losses last week by defeating Nazareth College 4-2 in its Empire 8 Conference opener Saturday afternoon at Higgins Stadium.
After losses against Wellesley College and SUNY-Cortland, the Bombers knew they needed to turn around their momentum — especially heading into the conference schedule. Head Coach Tracey Houk said the South Hill squad was able to provide the right opportunities at the right moments in the scoring circle by connecting passes, utilizing open space and executing clean passes.
“I believe every team has their ups and downs for the season, and I think we’ve been really pulling through pretty tough,” Houk said. “I’m pleased with what we’re doing.”
A Bombers’ attack off the right side of the circle kick-started the scoring action Saturday. After a shot that tucked behind the Golden Flyers’ goalkeeper, junior forward Lindsay Flanagan cashed in her own rebound for the opening goal.
Less than a minute later, the Blue and Gold scored their second goal on a pass by junior back Andrea Pace that was finished off 15 yards inside the circle by sophomore forward Natalie Lynch.
Down by two goals, Nazareth began to build up its opportunities in the Bombers’ defensive circle with a penalty stroke. A dive from the Bombers’ senior goalkeeper Kelly Singleton on the left side blocked the shot. However, shortly after Nazareth created another opportunity to score. Entering from the left side on a breakaway, senior forward Lindsey Smith scored by sending the ball inside the right post to cut the score to 2-1 at 22:24. The score remained that way until halftime.
The second half of the game began similar to the first, with one goal by the South Hill squad followed by one from Nazareth. Pace scored the Bombers’ third goal by finishing a scramble near the right post.
Less than four minutes later, Nazareth scored again with a goal from seven yards out by senior midfielder Kailee O’Hara. Her score would be the last goal of the day for the Golden Flyers. Nazareth Head Coach Andrea Tutino said her squad wasn’t able to finish plays during the game.
“We just didn’t finish any of the opportunities we had,” Tutino said. “We presented ourselves with many of them, but we just couldn’t finish.”
Senior forward Julia Conroy sealed the win for the Blue and Gold by finishing off a deflected pass from Pace during a corner play with less than 15 minutes remaining.
Houk said winning their Empire 8 opener is a huge step for the Bombers in their quest for glory in 2012.
“That’s one of our goals — to be in the final four for the Empire 8 conference,” Houk said.
The South Hill squad will take on William Smith College in their next game at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Geneva, N.Y. Follow live action updates online through @IthacanSports on Twitter.