MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Watching a team progress and grow during the course of a season is always enjoyable.
A perfect example of this in action is the Wesleyan University field hockey team, as the Cardinals showed a great deal of heart during a 3-1 setback against No. 10 Williams on Saturday afternoon, nearly trimming the deficit to one goal during the final minutes in front of a loud crowd during Senior Day festivities at Smith Field in Middletown, Conn.
Prior to the game, the Cardinals honored their top-notch senior class, featuring Cici Frattasio, Tess Iannaone, Tierney Behles, Lily Ardente and Brooke Hodgson, as the unit has represented the institution in tremendous ways on and off the field.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Frattasio scored her 12th career goal and team-leading sixth tally this season in the 66th minute, as the Walpole, Mass. native buried a turnaround shot off a great feed by sophomore forward Maddie Shea, trimming the deficit to 3-1. Frattasio, who continuously brings intensity and pressure in the offensive end, has been nothing short of phenomenal during her time at Wesleyan, as she has scored eight goals in front of the home crowd during her career.
- The Cardinals' bench nearly erupted with two minutes left in the game, as Frattasio and Behles fired shots from deep in the circle, but the Ephs' defense was able to block the attempts.
- The Ephs (10-2, 6-2 NESCAC) opened the scoring in the 15th minute, as senior Hannah Goodrick sent a penalty corner onto the stick of senior Alex Bennett. Bennett then sent a bullet toward goal from straight on, and the drive was redirected into the back of the net from close range by junior Julia Cochran.
- Wesleyan (3-9, 0-7 NESCAC) tried to turn the tide with 16:30 left in the first half, when sophomore midfielder Abby Manning sent a great ball down the field onto the stick of Frattasio, but a group of Ephs' defenders were able to prevent a shot in the circle.
- It looked like the Ephs might extended the lead to 2-0 with 13:30 left in the opening half, but just like she has done all her career, Iannarone came up with a big play, stealing the ball away from Bennett on the verge of a top-caliber scoring chance.
- The Cardinals demonstrated some quick passing in the 33rd minute, as freshman forward Nikki Gerjarusak sent a pass in the open field to Shea, who then sent a drive into the circle, which was redirected by Frattasio barely over the net.
- Sophomore goalkeeper Delaney Wood, who made a career-high 17 stops, kept the Cardinals within one in the 40th minute, making a pair of aggressive saves on shots by Bennett from deep in the circle. Wood made another pair of high-caliber stops on Bennett in the 47th minute, with the second one requiring a quick reaction. The Winslow, Maine native ranks No. 1 in the NESCAC Conference with 115 saves on the season.
- In the 50th minute, Frattasio sent a shot just wide of the net, as the play was orchestrated with a great up-field look by Tierney onto the stick of Gerjarusak, who shuffled the ball over to Frattasio in the circle.
- Junior forward Libby Dolan scored her team-best 15th goal of the season during the 60th minute, assisted by sophomore Emma Ticknor, giving the Ephs a two-goal cushion. In the 63rd minute, Williams built a three-goal advantage on a goal by freshman Molly Lohss, assisted by Dolan.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Williams held a 33-9 advantage in shots and a 17-2 lead in penalty corners. Junior Emma Santucci (7-0-0) and sophomore Abby Lloyd (3-2-0) both saw action in net for the Ephs during the win.
- Bennett led the way with a game-high 15 shots and a game-best nine on target, and Dolan chipped in with eight total shots and five on goal for the visitors.
- The hosts were led by a four-shot performance by Frattasio and a two-shot effort from Manning.
- The Cardinals will travel to Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday night for a 6:30 p.m. tilt against Trinity.