The Oswego State field hockey team split a pair of games this past weekend, picking up its first win of the season in its home opener Friday against Morrisville State and falling to Houghton College the next day at Laker Field.
The Lakers (1-4, 1-0 SUNYAC) came out strong against the Mustangs (1-6, 0-2 SUNYAC), recording their first goal just 1:13 into the game. Senior forward Alyssa Hare scored her first goal of the season on a pass from fellow senior forward Michelle Ruskey. Oswego State would never relinquish the lead from that point on, cruising to a 4-0 win, their first conference victory of the season.
“It was important to get our first win and it is even better that it was a conference win,” fifth-year head coach Brandi Lusk said. “To win any game 4-0 is an accomplishment, but it was great to have our home opener be a success.”
Hare recorded the Lakers’ second goal of the game, striking at the 15:04 mark on a pass inside the box from senior midfielder and captain Jess Felice. Ruskey contributed two other goals for Oswego State, capping the first half scoring for the Lakers at the 19:07 mark during a penalty corner off of a deflection from junior defender Heather Jennings.
Ruskey tallied another goal in the second half, going through the defense unassisted and putting a shot past Morrisville freshman goalkeeper Nicole Gregg.
“Alyssa Hare and Michelle Ruskey did a great job offensively, being aggressive and capitalizing on scoring opportunities,” Lusk said. “Overall each player made an impact at some point this weekend, and our midfielder certainly worked hard both games.”
Despite her strong performance, Ruskey said she did not feel 100 percent heading into the game.
“I personally did not feel prepared for Friday’s game. I felt I was too calm about it,” Ruskey said. “After I got the first assist, I was ready to play and keep racking up points on the board.”
Oswego State was unable to keep the momentum going the next Saturday, falling to Houghton 4-1. The Highlanders (3-1) built up an early lead in the first 10 minutes of the game, going up 2-0 on goals from sophomore forward/midfielder Colleen Sullivan and junior forward/midfielder Adria Bridgwood. Sullivan contributed an assist on Bridgwood’s goal.
The Lakers were able to strike before halftime, as senior forward Taylor Stein scored on a pass from junior forward Ashley Fiorelle. Unfortunately for the Lakers, that would be it for them, as they would give up two more goals on the way to another loss.
“We went out on Friday and did exactly what we needed to do, but on Saturday we struggled with communication and execution of our game plan,” Lusk said. “In the end it cost us a win.”
“We were all just a little flat,” Ruskey said. “I think we all tried to carry over Friday’s win…into Saturday, but Houghton spread the field out well and knew how to get around us.”
Houghton junior forward/midfielder Maesa Phongsamouth scored both goals for the Highlanders, with each coming off a pass from senior forward Ashley Engle, who recorded two assists.
“I am very happy with the way my team played on Friday, but we could have played smarter on Saturday,” Lusk said. “Overall, we fixed a lot of mistakes, but there is always room for improvement.”
The Lakers will return to action today, travelling to New Paltz to face off against the Hawks at 4 p.m. Oswego State will come back to Laker Field Wednesday, Oct. 3, to host Wells College at 4 p.m.
“This weekend we have two huge conference games, and they are going to be tough,” Ruskey said. “If we can dominate these games like we did with Morrisville, it will give us the upper hand when it comes to playing the rest of the teams in our conference.”
“We still have lots of games left and a lot of areas for improvement,” Lusk said. “I think that we are going to surprise quite a few teams this season as long as the girls continue to work hard.”