After rousing victories in Boston and Connecticut, the University of Maine field hockey team found themselves facing Cornell on Moulton Winder Field in Vermont on Sept. 14.
Right away the Black Bears showed themselves as a force to be reckoned with, wearing down the turf on Cornell’s side of the field and giving spectators a long look at Cornell’s goal. Maine’s passes flew with machine-like precision in tight diamonds which sent the ball speeding past Cornell’s defenders time and time again. When Cornell made their charges toward Maine’s goal, Black Bear defenders grappled aggressively, thwarting their efforts without mercy.
The first goal was made by midfielder Riley Field, who finished last season with a total of 2 goals on 13 shots. The next attempt by UMaine was stopped by Cornell goalkeeper, Maddie Henry, during a penalty-induced corner shot. Henry also saved a shot by forward Brianna Ricker. Despite proving herself a solid opponent for the Black Bears, Henry couldn’t stop the shot during the next penalty corner. The goal was made by back player Nina Keur with the assistance of middle field player Libby Riedl, bringing the score to 2-0. Near the halfway point of the first half there were four penalty corners for UMaine where Libby Riedl and back player Samantha Wagg had four of their shots blocked before Cornell called for a time out.
In the second half of the first period, Henry was once again a firm wall, hindering UMaine’s next step to victory by skillfully blocking the shot made by midfielder Casey Crowley. However, at the next penalty corner initiated by back player Emily Hindle, the ball was sent flying into the goal by Hannah Davis, further securing a UMaine’s victory by improving the score to 3-0.
Ricker took the first shot of the second period, which was saved by Henry. Then, on the ensuing penalty corner, Henry blocked the shot once again. Others on Cornell’s defense had grown desperate as another save was made by midfielder Kirsten Pienaar. Cornell still had energy and gusto, but despite their best defensive effort UMaine struck again with a goal by midfielder Lydia Gavner, and an assist by Keur. The score was now 4-0 with Cornell players still unable to make a dent in UMaine’s solid defense. Both of Cornell’s shots against UMaine, one during regular play and the other during a penalty corner, were easily blocked by goalkeeper Mia Borley.
With two minutes left, Crowley, assisted by Ricker, scored the fifth goal, leaving Cornell in the bitter dust of defeat, giving the University of Maine another victory in their glorious campaign. The six victories in a row mark the team’s best start since 1975, attributed to offensive balance and team spirit.