Craft shines despite field hockey’s loss to Bentley

Hunter O. LyleSports Editor

Despite losing it’s sixth straight game of the season against NE10 opponent Bentley University, the field hockey team found a silverlining in their goalkeeper’s defensive awareness and skill.

Before the game even started, the Owls seemed to be the underdog. The Owls were outnumbered 29 to 13, and while the Falcon’s starting line-up featured seven seniors, Southern had only one senior and one graduate student on the team.

“Certainly, there’s experience on the field for [Bentley]. Certainly, they’ve been working together for four years and they have that advantage over us,” said head coach Kelley Frassinelli, “but I think regardless of numbers and regardless of what that seniority is, I think it’s the dynamic of that team that you have on the field and then what they can put together.”

While her coach seemed to be more cautiously optimistic, goalkeeper Brianna Craft, a senior, was not worried about the gap in experience or numbers.

“It’s not intimidating at all,” said Craft. “I think [myself and graduate student Jana Migliaro] have been here for a while but the girls have stepped up and they’re coming under our wing and stepping up just as high as us.”

Keeping that confident approach, Craft would be the key player that kept Southern in the game. The first half consisted of heavily fought competition. Both the Falcons and the Owls found positions to score but were unable to finish. Southern had several opportunities to score from penalty corner shots but failed to connect, while Bentley’s outlet passing would spur fast break runs that ended before reaching the goal.

While the Falcons were able to score once off a crowded shot from a rebound, Craft’s defense kept the game close. Besides the one goal, Craft was able to block the heavy flow of shots in the second quarter, stopping 10 out of 11 shots on goal.

“[Brianna] works hard. She’s quick and she’s somebody who is super critical of her own play,” said Frassinelli. “She’s somebody who is going to demand from her teammates to step up and be as strong as they can on the field.”

In the second half, Bentley scored late in the third due to a penalty stroke placed in the top right pocket. After that, the Falcons did not lay off the gas. The offense kept coming, pushing past midfield and preventing the Owls from gaining much headway. Southern eventually scored, in another silverlining moment, when forward Kaitlyn Bourque, a freshman, logged her first collegiate goal as an Owl.

Borque said her goal is just a reminder that hard work and sticking to the game plan will pay off.

“I was psyched. I wanted to score another one,” said Bourque. “It really helped our momentum and pushing us forward for the rest of the game.”

Throughout the rest of the game, Craft kept up the good work in the goal, finishing with a season-high 23 saves. She said that while the team’s defense is relatively solid, there could be some improvements on offense.

“Honestly, we have been putting pieces together through each game we’ve played,” Craft said, “but I think now the final thing is getting ahead quicker, scoring maybe in the first quarter, and then holding them in the third quarter.”

Photo credit: SOUTHERNCT.COM

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