RU Field Hockey grabs first win of season

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Michael Marzzacco

The Radford Women’s Field Hockey team made a competitive showing against the Davidson College Wildcats at home on Friday, Sept. 28, but dropped the game in a heartbreaking overtime loss to a score of 3-2.  Looking to grab a win in the season, RU finally clinched their first victory 3-2 on the road against Appalachian State on Sunday, Sept. 30.

Coming into the Davidson game, Radford had lost three of the last four games to the Wildcats. With a record of 0-7 overall, and 0-1 in the East, RU was looking to grab their first win.

The Highs jumped to a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute of the first half when freshman midfielder Stacey Mackintosh put the ball in over the keeper on a direct corner.  The goal was assisted by sophomore Amy Kinkler and junior Alayna Versage.  Radford took that 1-0 lead into the half, as they outshot the Wildcats 7-3.  Radford had five corners while Davidson had three.

In the second half, Radford tried holding on to get their first win. With 12:44 left in regulation, Davidson tied the game at 1-1 on a goal from Finley Amato.  However, the Highlanders answered right back seconds later as freshmen Jana Bayer blasted one through the net, pushing the Highs up 2-1.

However, the Highs lost hold of the lead.  With just over two minutes left in the game, the Wildcats tied the game 2-2 on a Melissa Funsten goal off a corner. After two periods the game went to overtime.

Early in the overtime session, RU had an opportunity to notch their first win of the season, but Mackintosh’s shot was blocked by a teammate as the ball went wide. With 1:29 left in the game, Amato scored her second goal of the contest to win the game for the Wildcats.

Even with the loss, junior goalie Sidney Encarnacion made five great saves for Radford.

After the loss, Head Coach Jeff Woods said, “we’re getting there, we’re playing so much better than we were earlier.  In this conference game, we played pretty tough against a pretty equal opponent on our field.  We need to finish, that’s the bottom line.  We need to take our opportunities and put them in the net.”

There were positives to come out of the game.

“We had two excellent goals, we created some opportunities, we outshot them, we had seven corners and we almost put one in during overtime,” Coach Woods expressed. “Each game is a lot better, moving it and defending it pretty well and that’s what we’re asking for.”

In the second game of the weekend, RU got a big win. A 3-2 come-from-behind grab against App State gave the Highs their first victory of the year.

App State took a 2-0 lead within the first six minutes of the game. After the slow start, the Highs finally put some pressure on the ASU defense in the final fifteen minutes of the half with three attempts on goal.

RU carried that momentum into the second half when Mackintosh and freshman forward Marianna Parker scored. Mackintosh ripped one in near post on a corner and then Parker scored her first collegiate goal two minutes later.

With the game tied twice, the game prevailed to a second overtime where Mackintosh clinched her second goal of the game with two minutes left.

Encarnacion made four saves the rest of the game and sophomore midfielder Jordan Vrhovac also prevented an ASU goal with a defensive save during a second half corner.

“I think we’re doing a lot of good things for as young as we are,” stated Coach Woods.

With the win, RU improved to 1-8 overall and 1-2 in the conference. The Highs move out of conference play next weekend, taking a trip to Philadelphia for matches against Temple University on Saturday, Oct. 6 and Penn on Sunday, Oct. 7. Both matches are scheduled for 1 p.m.