Coming off a dominant 4–0 win against Washington and Jefferson College on Sept. 12, the field hockey team returned to Higgins Stadium to face the undefeated University of Rochester.
The Yellowjackets posed a formidable defensive challenge for the Bombers, as they had allowed only two goals all season.
This is the first time the Bombers had beaten Rochester since 2007, and in the previous seven matchups since that win, the Yellowjackets had outscored the Bombers 29–11.
The game kicked off with the Bombers possession. However, neither team was able to create an offensive chance for themselves.
With 29 minutes to go in the first half, Rochester sophomore Olivia Denny attempted consecutive penalty corners, both leading to quality chances. The second nearly found the net, but junior goalie Katie Lass dove and knocked it out at the last second.
At about the 17 minute mark, the Blue and Gold took their first penalty corner.
Junior Lauren Delia’s entry pass found the stick of senior captain Olivia Salindong, who dropped a perfect pass to junior Colleen Keegan-Twombly for a score, making it 1–0 Bombers.
The goal was Keegan-Twombly’s team-leading fourth on the season, while the assist was Salindong’s first point in the 2015 campaign. The goal was also the first time the Yellowjackets had allowed their opponents to score first so far this year.
Keegan-Twombly said she was pleased with the team’s execution throughout the game.
“Our corners were wide open,” Keegan-Twombly said. “My role in the circle is to look for tipped balls, and the pass deflected off of Olivia’s stick, so I took the shot and it went around the goalie.”
Looking to add to their 1–0 advantage, the Bombers took another penalty corner with five minutes remaining the opening half.
Sophomore Amanda Schell started the action with an entry pass intended for a crowd of Bombers, but the ensuing shot bounced wide to the right. The Bombers would take their 1–0 lead into the half, holding Rochester off the scoreboard, despite being outshot 7–4.
Lass, pursuing her second consecutive shutout, continued to stymie Rochester with two saves in the first five minutes of the second half.
The South Hill squad also successfully denied consecutive Yellowjacket penalty corners with 26:25 remaining in the game.
Rochester had plenty of opportunities to break through, attempting four penalty corners with 15 minutes to play, none of which were successful.
The Bombers continued to lock down the talented Yellowjackets, despite being outshot 14–6. They spent the majority of last five minutes playing defense, and pulled out the 1–0 victory.
Lass said she was excited after the game for the potential momentum the team can build.
“I think it’s really going to drive us forward, knowing that we were able to hang with them, I think we had a great game,” Lass said.
Lass, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, said she doesn’t focus on her back-to-back shutouts.
“It’s a bit crazy, I don’t really wanna think about it, but I just talked to my teammates and stayed on the ball,” Lass said.
As the clock wound down, the boisterous crowd at Higgins rose to its feet in support of its Bombers. Rochester would attempt one final corner with a minute left, but the Bomber defense held strong one final time, not allowing a shot.
Head coach Tracey Houk said she was immensely proud of her squad after the game.
“[Rochester] is tough and intense, they played hard the whole game, but this shows that we’re tough and intense and we can play the whole game too,” Houk said.
The Bombers shared the Empire 8 conference lead with Houghton College heading into the day and were looking to take the lead over the Highlanders.
The Blue and Gold will remain at home to take on the St. John Fisher College Cardinals at 1 p.m. Sept. 19. This will be the second Empire 8 matchup for the squad after defeating Washington and Jefferson in its last match.