No. 3 team in country ruins field hockey senior day
Morgan Douglas – Sports Editor
Field Hockey ran into the buzzsaw known as the Assumption University Greyhounds this past Saturday at Jess Dow Field on senior day.
The Owls lost 8-0 to an Assumption team which is currently first in the NE-10 Conference and ranked third in the country for Division II.
Saturday’s victory marked 10 in a row for the Greyhounds, a team who has not lost since their season opener. The Owls dropped to 2-6.
“This was definitely a mental game,” team captain Alyssa Haskins, a senior said. “I think a lot of us came in nervous, and then comes stage fright, and because this is the nationally ranked third team a lot of us knew it was going to be really tough and really challenging.
The Greyhounds made for a tough senior day opponent, doing their best to put a damper on all the festivities surrounding the game.
Haskins, along with fullbacks Julia Schaff and Megan Habakangas were recognized both pre- and post-game as part of senior day, complete with signs, balloons, flowers and framed pictures commemorating their field hockey careers.
“It’s just surreal to me that I’m actually a senior now,” Schaff said. “It’s sad that I lost a year, but it’s also just crazy that I made it this far and to see how much I’ve grown as a person and as a player here at Southern.”
From the start of the game, the Greyhounds dominated possession of the ball, to the tune of 10 shots in the first quarter to the Owls’ zero.
Only one of those shots found the back of the net. Just over 10 minutes into the game, Greyhounds forward Shannon Quinlan passed it to forward Christina Leonard for what was the first of many goals for her team.
Owls’ goalkeeper Janelle Ward, a junior, recorded an impressive eight saves in the first quarter. She would have her work cut out for her throughout the contest.
The Owls competed better in the second quarter, fighting for the ball and possessing it more than in the first. The Greyhounds just executed better and scored for the second time less than five minutes into the quarter, with forward Mia Salah scoring unassisted for Assumption.
Midway through the quarter Greyhounds forward Isabel Primack scored to make it 3-0 and then came halftime, which featured a fan shootout contest.
“The biggest challenges were staying up after we get a goal scored on us and also just keeping our mindset positive after we get scored on,” Schaff said.
The Owls got all three of their shots off in the third quarter, but none found the back of the net. The home crowd stayed firmly behind their home team throughout, despite the score.
Assumption scored three times in quick succession in the third. Leonard scored again, as did Salah and forward Sydney Bouchard as well. The wheels were falling off and the Owls’ hopes of a comeback were rapidly fading.
“We are strong in our backfield and our midfield,” Habakangas said. “We get the ball up to about that point and then our forwards are struggling a little bit with getting it up to that next spot, and I think that’s where we really need to work.”
The fourth quarter was more of the same, with Assumption scoring two more times, including a third goal from Salah. Ward finished with 21 saves in the game due to the sheer volume of shots which came her way.
Habakangas made a defensive save late, to keep the score from looking even more lopsided.
“So, what goes through my mind every time we have a situation like that, I’m backing Janelle [Ward] up all the way because she’s phenomenal,” Habakangas said. “I just keep my hands low; I keep my feet behind me, and I just stay strong and trying to keep it out that goal.”
It was an emotional day for the seniors. A time for reflection and thought. Thoughts which lead to different feelings.
“It is the most absurd thing,” Haskins said. “Because I feel like just yesterday, I was walking into preseason on my first day as a terrified freshman and here I am almost four years later, and it’s totally crazy.”
Habakangas perceives time differently from her teammate.
“It means a lot,” Habakangas said. “Feels really weird. I feel like I’ve been here forever, so it’s crazy that it’s finally coming to an end, but I wouldn’t want to go out with any other group of girls, so I’m proud that I’m here with them.”
Field hockey plays next Tuesday, Oct. 12 on the road against Bentley University, looking to improve their record as their season winds down.
“I’m happy just to be out here with my team playing and to have this opportunity with all my friends around me, playing the sport I love,” Schaff said.