The Oswego State women’s field hockey team allowed four second half goals in a span of 14 minutes in a stunning 4-3 loss to Utica College Wednesday evening at Laker Field.
Utica junior midfielder Mallory Mariano tallied the game-winning goal with 12:32 remaining and also recorded two assists to rally the Pioneers (2-1) past the Lakers in torrential rain and wind conditions. The Laker defense fell apart in the early stages of the second half, allowing three Utica goals in a span of just four minutes.
"We should have won," coach Brandi Ostrander said. "We outplayed them in the first half of the game. We are a very dominant team but we broke down defensively and didn’t communicate well and that’s why we lost the game."
The Lakers (1-2) held a three-goal advantage at halftime but saw the lead begin to evaporate with junior forward Rebecca Corsones’ goal 26:52 remaining in the game. Senior forward Lindsey Jester lofted a pass through the box that Corsones picked cleanly out of the air and into the back of the net.
"The team concept is important," Ostrander said. "You need a positive atmosphere and have everybody involved to do well and if there is even one person that is negative, it brings the whole team down."
Just a minute later, senior midfielder Kim Martin capitalized on one of Utica’s 19 penalty corners to cut the Laker lead to one. Martin scored her first goal of the season on a rebound shot from Mariano that was saved by Laker goalie Jamie Scharfe. Scharfe finished the game with 11 saves on 15 shots, taking the loss in net.
It took less than two minutes later for the Pioneers to tie the game at three, again taking advantage of the penalty corner. With 22:55 remaining in the second half, Mariano fired a shot from just inside the box that was deflected into the back of the net by senior midfielder Sarah Keller. The pioneer bench erupted in cheers as a sign of disbelief overshadowed the Oswego State players and coaches. With the rain continuing to pour down on the already water logged field, all Ostrander could do was hold up her hands to call timeout, hoping that a time stoppage would be able to seize the Utica momentum. However, Ostrander refused to blame the loss on the weather.
"We have a tough team," Ostrander said. "They can handle weather. They wouldn’t be at Oswego State if they couldn’t handle the weather."
The timeout proved fruitful, as the Lakers were unable to recapture the momentum that had achieved in the first half. Oswego State mustered only six shots in the second half (two following the timeout) to Utica’s 14 and earned just six second half penalty corners to Utica’s 12. Pioneers goalie Monica Storms recorded five saves to earn the win in net.
"It was communication," Ostrander said. "Communication is a big part of this sport and if one person decides not to communicate it’s like a downhill effect. What happened was they got ahead because we just didn’t communicate in the backfield.
Oswego State jumped out to the early lead when sophomore forward Taylor Stein scored her first goal of the season at 6:13 of the first half. Senior midfielder and captain Sara Budde brought the ball up the field and found sophomore midfielder Jess Felice, whose shot on goal ricocheted of the left post. Stein was in proper position to put the ball into the back of the cage.
Budde was awarded for her hard work setting up the first Laker goal by scoring the team’s second goal of the game at 9:45 of the first half. Senior forward Brittany Roetzer’s shot in the box was blocked aside by Storms, but found herself out of position when the ball found Budde’s stick. Budde had an open net to work with and didn’t waste her opportunity.
The Lakers seemed to have the game well in control after junior forward Kelly Collins netted her team-leading third goal of the season with 9:56 remaining in the first half.
Things unraveled from there for the Lakers as they accumulated two green cards and two yellow cards for physical play. The referees assessed Roetzer with one green card and one yellow card in the game. Roetzer has accumulated two yellow cards already this season. Felice received a yellow card with 1:54 remaining in the game that dashed any hopes of the Lakers tying the game.
"What I’m hoping is that this never happens again," Ostrander said. "That’s what I’m taking from (the game). Never again."
Oswego State will look to rebound on Saturday, Sept. 11 when they travel to Ithaca College to play the Bombers.