The field hockey team (2–9) was shutout for the second consecutive game and lost its sixth straight contest overall in a 5-0 defeat to the University of Rochester (10—5) last night at Higgins Stadium.
Rochester scored three goals in the first half to put themselves ahead early. Rochester senior defender Alexis Vangellow scored on a shot that got past the outstretched leg of junior goalkeeper Kelly Singleton and barely dribbled over the goal line in the eighth minute. Senior forward Allison Beardsley then tacked on two more goals for the Yellow Jackets to give Rochester a commanding 3-0 lead.
Rochester Head Coach Wendy Andreatta said the Bombers were the better team in the first half despite the score.
“This game wasn’t as lopsided as the score appears,” Andreatta said. “Ithaca had amazing chances and a lot of heart, and I thought they outplayed us in the first half quite honestly. They have a really feisty team but they just couldn’t connect and finish.”
The Bombers’ offense was effectively suffocated by a stingy Yellow Jackets defense. The Blue and Gold were outshot by a total of 14-11 and failed to capitalize on penalty corners. The team struggled to find any sort of synergy once it got into the scoring circle.
While Andreatta acknowledged that her team struggled with their own corner opportunities, she said failed conversions of special teams plays really hurt the Bombers.
“Just like us, they could work on their corner execution,” Andreatta said. “We had a lot of corners and we couldn’t capitalize, and if Ithaca can get some real goals out of their corners they can do really well the rest of the way.”
Singleton made five saves in goal for the South Hill squad and got a hand from freshman midfielder Leigh Martino, who made a desperate defensive save of her own.
Ithaca sophomore defender Emily Lash said while there is added pressure on the back line to keep the team in games while the offense works out its problems.
“It’s difficult because we’re trying our hardest, but we’ve faced some really good offenses,” Lash said. “We’re trying so hard just to get the ball up the field, and when we do finally get there and we don’t score it’s disappointing. But our job as a defense is to stop the ball and we always have to work as hard as we can no matter what the offense is doing.”
While the Blue and Gold struggled to score, Rochester added two more insurance goals in the second half to make the score 5-0 and put the game well out of reach.
Sophomore midfielder Sam English said the Bombers’ offense struggles have been even more apparent while the team adopts a change in tactics.
“We are struggling while we’re trying to adapt to a new 3-1-2-3 formation right now,” English said. “We’re trying to figure out the kinks and get the ball moving on offense.”
Lash said the Bombers are frustrated not only with their six-game losing streak itself, but how close many of those losses have been.
English said the Blue and Gold need to iron out their issues quickly before they take the field for an Empire 8 Conference matchup with St. John Fisher College at 1 p.m. Saturday at Higgins Stadium.
“Saturday is absolutely a must-win E-8 game for us to even think about going to the final four in the Empire 8 tournament,” English said.