Updated: Jan 25, 2019
The stage was set for a memorable battle between two of the top NCAA Division III field hockey teams in the nation. No. 6 Salisbury University hosted No. 4 The College of New Jersey (4-1). The only loss for both the Sea Gulls and Lions was on the road at No. 2 Messiah earlier this season.
Salisbury came into Saturday afternoon’s game confident for a victory.
“[Our team has] plenty of talent out there, so we knew that we had the opportunity to win this game,” Salisbury Field Hockey Head Coach Dawn Chamberlin said.
Through their first seven games, Salisbury had only given up four goals, working a shutout in four games. The Sea Gulls accomplished this feat while playing six of their first seven games on the road.
“It builds a lot of character playing on the road,” Chamberlin explained. “You are tired, you just have to keep getting after it day after day.”
Once the game got underway, both the Sea Gulls and Lions spent the early stages of the first half trading the ball back and forth into enemy territory. Just five minutes into the game, the Sea Gulls found the game’s first goal when junior forward Tara Daddio scored unassisted for her seventh goal of the year.
Four minutes later, TCNJ quickly responded as junior forward Kayla Peterson scored her seventh goal of the year to tie the game. Peterson found a spark and continued her success with two more goals before the half for a hat trick.
Peterson’s second goal in the half came with under nine minutes left, with the third goal coming with under three minutes left in the half. Salisbury trailed at at the break despite outshooting the Lions 10-6.
Salisbury came out of the half re-energized and focused on coming back from the 3-1 deficit. The Sea Gulls had four consecutive penalty corners to open the second half. However, TCNJ thwarted Salisbury on every shot on goal.
On defense, the Sea Gulls held the Lions without a shot the entire second half, getting 11 shots of their own over the course of the period. Salisbury also led the game in penalty corners with 11, while TCNJ saw six opportunities.
“[Coach Chamberlin] said that we needed to pick it up,” Daddio said. “At the end of the day, we control our own destiny, so if we don’t give it our all, nothing is going to happen.”
Unfortunately, the Sea Gulls were unable to find the back of the net in the second half, losing to the Lions 3-1. This loss marked Salisbury’s second against a top-five nationally ranked team this year.
“The team’s biggest strength is not giving up,” Daddio stated. “It all starts with coming out to practice [on Monday] and giving it one hundred percent. Forget about [today’s game] and look towards the future.”
Salisbury (6-2) heads back on the road, traveling to Gwynedd Mercy (4-3) for their next game next Saturday. The Sea Gulls will not return home again until Wednesday, Oct. 3, when they host the Catholic University of America (2-4) with a 6 p.m. start.
By BRANDON STARK
Featured photo: Salisbury sophomore goalie Dom Farrace and the SU defense try to battle away a chance from TCNJ. Sept. 22 (Emma Reider image).