Northwestern Press

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Field hockey team has balanced scoring

Thursday, September 12, 2019 by TODD KRESS in Sports

Northwestern field hockey head coach Lissa Opolsky has been fortunate with the number of gifted goal scorers her team has this fall. There have been over 10 players to put the ball in the cage this year so far for the Lady Tigers.

That scoring distribution has been a key part in Northwestern’s fast start to the fall season. The Lady Tigers (2-1-1 overall) won two of their three games in the opening week of the season, which included dominant victories over Palisades and Catasauqua by scores of 8-3 and 7-1, respectively.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a large number of players who are determined to be better each day,” Opolsky said. “We are able to generate our offense from the backfield and that can take your team to the next level. We have some inexperience in the forward line, but all of those players have been working hard to make that a nonentity as we continue in the league season.”

In those first two wins, nine players scored goals for Northwestern. Brinley Rex and Brynn Balliet led the way by each putting three into the back of the cage (each scoring two against Palisades in the season opener).

Lauren Shellhamer, Brooke Page, Ally Myers, Reagan Hernandez, Aly Lister, McKenzie Mosebach, Tess Ledeboer and Charlotte Horn have also found the back of the net.

“They realize that without all of the pieces to our puzzle, playing great hockey will be hard to come by,” Opolsky said. “Everyone is so willing to do whatever it takes. They have been practicing hard, putting time in during the offseason and continuing to grow each time we take the field.”

The Lady Tigers then played to a tie against Wilson over the weekend. After the Warriors’ Jaelyn Raisner scored early in the first half, Ledeboer was able to tie the game at 1-1 with 25:37 remaining in the half.

That score would hold until the final whistle in what was a sold defensive effort from both teams. The Lady Tigers did have their chances offensively, too.

“Although we ended in a tie, I was happy with some of the things we wanted to build upon, such as our passing game,” Opolsky siaid. “We had 22 penalty corners and 13 shots on goal, which is good production in that area, but we failed to put more than one in the goal. I was impressed with our ability to stay poised and stay in the moment, which is going to be a good skill moving forward throughout the season.”

A tough 2-1 loss to Southern Lehigh opened Northwestern’s current week. The Lady Tigers will face Lehighton on Thursday and Salisbury on Saturday, with Wednesday’s results against Northern Lehigh not available at time of press.

“We have some very skilled opponents coming up, but I know the girls are looking forward to each of them one day at a time,” Opolsky said. “It is going to be a tough and long week, and it will be important that we manage each game, take care of our bodies during school and at night, and go into each with confidence.”