Catamount Field Hockey Battles the Big Green

As the sun began to set over UVM’s new turf, the field hockey team faced off against Dartmouth College with an overall record of 3-3. The game was only the Big Green’s second game on the road, but as soon as the whistle blew, they put extreme pressure on the Catamount defense, encouraged by the loud and badgering contingent made up of Dartmouth parents and fans. The defensive efforts, led by fearless goalie Ariel Eber (Class of 2006), forced the ball into Dartmouth territory countless times. For the entire first half, both teams played a tough defensive game. With only breakaway or two from Danielle Collins (Class of 2008), who is also tied for sixth in the league in goals per game(.33) and is sixth in points per game(1.0)- the scoreboard remained unchanged. The second half brought an enormous burst of energy from both teams. In the first fifteen minutes of the half, Dartmouth made the first strike, but only led the game for a few brief moments. A Catamount attack was launched as Kate Lipton (Class of 2008) gets control of the ball and carries it down the field and sends it into the circle to Collins, who fed it to Kelly McClintock (Class of 2008) giving the sophomore her fourth goal of the season. Less than a minute after Vermont tied up the game, Dartmouth makes a fast recovery and regains the lead. The teams both took advantage of a time-out and when they came back on the field, the level of play was doubly intensified. The Catamounts managed to keep the ball in the Big Green’s circle and were awarded two corners-in which they failed to score. Finally, Vermont is given a third corner, and with a perfect push to the top from Betsy Welsh (Class of 2008), Kim Striegler (Class of 2009) sends it towards the goal. The ball is picked up by Emily “Fitzy” Fitzgerald (Class of 2006) and she quickly passes to Collins who sends the ball straight to the back of the goal with a loud bang. With the game tied and only minutes left in the game, the Big Green puts their famous end-of-the-game force on the Catamounts. But Vermont’s defensive wall is impenetrable and the game goes into to overtime. Both teams played with an exhausted determination throughout the two fifteen-minute overtime halves. A strong and courageous performance from Eber kept the game tied throughout, she daringly came out of the goal to put a stop to any chance Dartmouth had at scoring. Lisa Patrick (Class of 2008) demonstrated a great deal of power and finesse in her defensive game, clearing the ball with both muscle and direction. Sending the ball right Collins’ and Fitzgerald’s sticks who both initiated numerous offensive plays, but all were fruitless. The game came down to penalty strokes, and in the end it was apparent which team had spent the extra time practicing taking them. Dartmouth won the game by making three of their shots, while Vermont didn’t make one. By far, this was one of the Catamounts most exciting home games as they all played with a level of passion and skill that is unsurpassed by Vermont field hockey teams of the past, as one nearby fan said in the bleachers, “winning by strokes doesn’t prove anything about a team’s ability and neither does losing.”k