Cats remain motivated following first losses

The 2013-2014 women’s field hockey season begins as UVM opens against two competitive, non-conference opponents: Boston College and Rutgers University.

The Catamounts faced tough competition while hosting the nationally ranked No. 19 BC Eagles on Aug. 30. The first half remained scoreless until Boston College first-year Eryn McCoy tallied her first collegiate goal with just over 15 minutes left in the half.

UVM senior Stephanie Zygmunt turned away several first half shots by the Eagles before McCoy gathered her own rebound and found the back of the net once again, giving BC a 2-0 lead. Vermont senior Colleen Slaughter cut the deficit in half when she rifled a shot from just inside the arc.

Unhappy with the call on the field, the BC coach, received a green card as the result of the controversial goal, which came with just seconds left in the first half. Junior Ashley McDonald accompanied Slaughter with two quality scoring chances only to be shut down by the Eagles just seconds before the half concluded.

BC controlled the majority of play in the second half as the Eagles applied relentless pressure on the UVM goaltender. McCoy struck again as she tallied a total two of the three BC goals, which came just ten minutes into the second half.

The Eagles’ dominance continued as their clinical passes troubled the Catamount defense. BC managed to score five more times before the end of the second half. The Eagles finished with 49 shot attempts as they moved past Vermont 10-1.

Despite suffering the loss in their season opener, McDonald expects that the Catamounts will be able to compete in a competitive America East conference.

“Our conference is one of the hardest in the league, McDonald said. “But we’re really strong this year, we’ve came in fit and were ready to go.”

She attributes the team’s strength to a good preseason. “We’re a really tight-knit group of girls this year,” McDonald said. “We are a lot closer than we have been in the past years. I think that helps us create more connections on the field.”

McDonald said that the team must be ready to stay focused and be mentally tough enough to bounce back after a loss. The Catamounts hoped to do this against the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights on Sept 1.

Just over three minutes into the first half, Slaughter stole a pass from the Rutgers defense before tallying the first goal of the game for the Catamounts. The Scarlet Knights would answer with a goal of their own coming late in the half. After halftime, Rutgers returned to the field and scored two goals within the first ten minutes of the half.

UVM responded to the Scarlet Knights quick goals when sophomore Emily Tilton sent a bouncing ball across which allowed McDonald to get a stick on the ball, narrowing Rutgers lead to 3-2. Rutgers would once again distance themselves from the threatening Catamounts as the Scarlet Knights managed to get two more goals past Zygmunt. Rutgers’ fifth goal of the game came off a corner, which introduced the fifth new scorer of the game.

Rutgers improved to 1-1 on the season while UVM fell to 0-2. The Catamounts travel to Davidson, N.C. to face Davidson College on Friday, Sept. 6 and Appalachian State on Sunday, Sept. 8. UVM hosts Fairfield on Saturday, Oct 5 which will be the Catamounts first America East conference match.