With 15:20 left to play in the first half, Stephanie Paproski scored the equalizer, bringing the Spartan field hockey contest against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to a 1-1 tie. That score didn’t last long, though, as RPI took the lead two minutes later on its way to a 6-1 win over Castleton on Oct. 4.With the loss, the Spartans fall to 0-7 against non-conference teams this season, bringing their overall record to 3-7.
“We have our sights set on the conference games,” said Spartan coach Tammy Landon. “Our non-conference games have really got our confidence down, though.”
The Spartans didn’t have much to be confident about in this game as they appeared to be flat and tired from their North Atlantic Conference game against Husson the day before.
“Playing in back to back games is really difficult,” Landon said. “Not all of the girls had their legs today.”
Senior Molly Fraher agreed.
“Back to back games really tire your legs out,” she said. “We should be able to play in back to back games, though.”
Legs were something the Spartans really needed against RPI as the Engineers made effective passes and kept the ball and the game moving.
The Engineers got all of the offensive threat they would need out of Alissa Peterson and Sandy Turnbull, each of whom had two goals and an assist in the first half.
The Spartans’ only goal of the game came from Paproski as she slipped in a perfect shot to the lower left corner of the goal, just out of the goalie’s reach. Courtney Nolan gave a beautiful assist with a pass from the far left side of the circle.
The Spartans, trailing 4-1 just under a minute before halftime, had a great opportunity to cut into the lead as Fraher sent a rocket of a shot to the right side of the goal off of a Spartan corner, but RPI’s goalie, Sarah Burcher, made a full-extension save with her stick.
“Pretty good,” Fraher said referring to the save after the game. “I never think it’s going in ’til it does. [The goalies] have the reaction time to work with.”
In the second half, the Engineers picked up right where they left off, collecting two more goals. The Spartans also returned to their first half form as they were unable to get anything going offensively.
“We just couldn’t find the nets,” Fraher said. “When we did find the shots, they just wouldn’t fall for us.”
Landon said afterwards that she doesn’t think this game will affect the Spartans too much in the long run.
“I think we will be able to forget about this game pretty quickly,” she said. “We just have to be happy with the Husson game. We played really well against them.”
After all, if the Spartans are really only focused on the NAC games, the 4-1 victory over Husson, one of their tougher competitors, will go a long way to boost the team’s confidence.
The Spartans now have a week off before their next game, when they host Simmons College, a NAC opponent, on Oct. 10.
“The week off is just what [this team] needs,” Landon said.