Field hockey outlasts Salisbury
The Northwestern field hockey team knew that Salisbury would provide some difficult competition Saturday night, but the Tigers found out just how tough the Lady Falcons could be when they pushed the game to overtime before Northwestern left with a 2-1 win.
The two teams battled through over 25 minutes of scoreless field hockey before Northwestern went up 1-0 on a goal by Sydney Derr off an assist from Allie Costa. While the goal held up as the only one of the first half, Salisbury came out fighting in the second half. With 22:25 left in the game, Madison Jewell tied the score with an unassisted goal and the momentum swung sharply back in favor of Salisbury.
For a while, it looked like the Falcons had taken the lead late in the second period, but a goal was disallowed when the two referees conferred and ruled that the shot came from outside the circle. The instant momentum that Salisbury had immediately shifted to Northwestern, but Salisbury head coach Jane Brennan used a time-out to rally her team to keep playing as hard as it had all game.
The two teams continued to take turns getting opportunities, but both goalies – Taylor Page for Northwestern and Emily Silberman for Salisbury – played sharp defense and the game went into overtime. Shortly into overtime, Northwestern was awarded an important corner and Costa had an open look from just in front of the goal and was able to flick a shot past Silberman to give Northwestern the win.
“We were all really tired, but we were working together and on the corner,” said Costa. “I was able to get a clear shot and I took it. It was a tough game and we knew they were really fast, so we had to use our stick skills and we marked really well.”
“Salisbury has come a long way as a team and it was just a very intense game,” said Northwestern coach Lissa Opolsky. “They have some skilled players and very quick players, so it was just determination and grit from our team.”
Northwestern suffered tough losses to Bangor (7-0-0) and Southern Lehigh (6-2-0) last week before edging Pen Argyl (1-5-1). Heading into Salisbury (2-4-0), it was important for the Tigers to get back on the bus with a win.
While the upcoming schedule has some tough games, it also features five of the next six games being played at home for Northwestern.
“We had a tough week last week, so this was a good win for us to stay in the top rankings of the Colonial League,” said Opolsky. “We head into a tough week when we play Lehighton and Moravian back-to-back, so it’s good momentum moving forward.”
Unfortunately for the Tigers, the momentum was snapped by a 1-0 loss to Lehighton (5-2-0) and then Moravian Academy (4-2-0) came onto Northwestern’s home field and dealt them a 4-1 setback.
There’s still enough field hockey left to be played for Northwestern to catch Southern Lehigh (6-0-0) for the lead in the West Division, especially considering that the two teams meet in the penultimate game of the season on October 10th.
Northern Lehigh, Palisades and Saucon Valley are the next three opponents, all at home for Northwestern. The combined record of the three teams is 7-9-1 this season, leaving an opportunity for Northwestern to regain some momentum that they let slip away in the last two losses.
Allie Costa believes that the players haven’t lost any confidence in themselves at any point this season and is looking forward to the team continuing to fight toward the postseason.
“We’ve worked really hard and some of the games have been tough,” she said. “But I think we’re doing really well and I think we’ll be a tough team to play, especially late in the season.”