Field hockey loses wild 10-4 contest to Merrimack
Tyler Ferrara – Special to the Southern News
Merrimack College women’s field hockey team came out with their sticks blazing last Wednesday night in Southern’s loss at Jess Dow Field.
The Owls gave up a whopping 10 goals in their 10-4 loss to the Warriors. Southern’s head field hockey coach, Kelley Frassinelli, said she had a very simple game plan.
“Part of it, is we talked about the redefending and the speed that they have,” said Frassinelli.
The Owls got off to a rough start, giving up 22 shots and allowing five goals in the first half alone.
Yet, on the other hand, freshman goalkeeper Brianna Craft had a night to remember. She recorded nine saves alone in the first half, and had a career-high 21 saves by the end of regulation.
Since the Merrimack game, Craft is ranked No. 2 in Division II in saves per game with an average of 11.73 per contest. In addition, she has tallied up 129 saves through the first 11 games of the season.
Down 5-0, Craft could tell something was going wrong at the end of the first half.
“I think after the first half we were just frustrated,” said Craft, the freshman out of Hamden, Conn. “That’s what ignited the fire under us.”
At the start the second period, Merrimack’s leading scorer Rylie Hammond, added two more goals to the deficit making the score 7-0. And about 15 minutes into the second half the tides started to turn.
Sophomores Kya O’Donnell, Jana Migliaro, Natasha Prukalski and Emily Stross lit a fire under their sticks, as the quadruplet team netted four goals in a span of nine minutes. Edging Southern closer to their tying Merrimack at 7-4.
O’Donnell, who led the Owls with two goals on only three shots on the night, came out stronger in the second half. She said it all started at halftime.
“She (Frassinelli) told us that we know that we can score goals,” said O’Donnell, a sophomore from Cheshire. “The minute we push ourselves and start the fire under us that’s when the intensity starts.”
After 11 games, O’Donnell is tied with senior Zoe Fanolis for most goals scored for Southern thus far.
However, Wednesday was not a quiet night for Fanolis, she contributed by setting up goals for Southern with three assists on the night – two of them to O’Donnell and the other to Prukalski.
Coach Frassinelli noted Fanolis was one of the Owls that kept the team composed.
“We have two to three players who worked hard throughout the whole game,” Frassinelli said. “They’re kind of the voice on that field and they’re directing. Vienna Pallisco, Zoe Fanolis and Alicia Morgan work really hard.”
With the season more than halfway done, Frassinelli is looking for her seniors to give direction to the underclassman in hopes that the sophomore-populated roster will take on more of a leadership role.
Coach Frassinelli is in her 22nd season as head coach of the Owls’ field hockey team. However, this isn’t the only sport that Frassinelli has served for, she served as the inaugural head coach of Southern’s lacrosse team, and continued to coach them for 12 seasons.
According to Frassinelli, one of the biggest questions has been how the team can improve their offense and score goals.
“We haven’t been scoring goals,” said Frassinelli. “And that’s our biggest thing.”
The Owls have given up a total of 55 goals and have only scored a total of 13 goals. Six of those goals coming off the sticks of seniors: Fanolis, McGinnis and Pallisco.
The Owls are now 3-9 after their 2-1 win over Franklin Pierce on Saturday.
This Friday, Frassinelli and the rest of the team will be home for a matchup against Stonehill College at 6 p.m. The Owls will then go on the road to face Mercy and Saint Anselm the following week.
Photo Courtesy: SCSU Athletic Communications