Pioneers top Elis at home

Perhaps the Elis lost a little bit of the fiery momentum from their historic Saturday win during the six-hour haul home from Ithaca.

After field hockey managed to figure out the Big Red for the first time since 1985, the squad had its hands full when Connecticut neighbors Sacred Heart came to call last night. On a clear night under the lights at Johnson Field, the visiting Pioneers (8-2) headed east from Fairfield County and snuck past the Bulldogs (2-6, 1-1 Ivy) for a tight 3-2 final.

“We tried to go into the game thinking and feeling what we did Saturday,” midfielder Ali Rotondo ’09 said. “Unfortunately it wasn’t there as much. It was definitely 100 percent and our best effort, but sometimes you play better in certain games than others.”

An early goal from sizzling middie Rachel Lentz ’07 put the home team on top for a few fleeting moments in the first, but Sacred Heart knotted the game in the ninth minute to set up a 1-1 deadlock that would last to halftime. Two quick tallies, NCAA-leading numbers 18 and 19, from Pioneer Carisa Eye minutes after the intermission were all the visitors would need to go home with win number eight in the young season.

Forward Lindsay Collins ’07 said there was a momentum shift after halftime, which hurt the Bulldogs.

“We had a letdown at the beginning of the second,” Collins said. “We were still in it. We had to get off the wall, which we did.”

The Bulldogs made their comeback attempt in the 64th minute, refusing to accept a 3-1 loss to the Pioneers. Captain and midfielder Heather Orrico ’07 got a shot off against Sacred Heart goaltender Ashley Del Greco. Although Del Greco was able to make the save, she was not able to lock the ball down and it rebounded out to a waiting Cat Lindroth ’08. Lindroth knocked it in to reduce the Elis’ deficit to one goal. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that was the last goal they were able to score.

The best part of the night may have been Lentz’s performance. Lentz, who rounded out her first three years in Bulldog blue without a single goal to her name, entered last night’s game on an unprecedented hot streak — three goals in her last three games. The midfielder’s sensational senior emergence continued to roll on when at 6:46 she hit the back of an open net off a pass from striker Harriet Thayer ’08.

Despite the final score, the Elis almost went toe-to-toe with the Pioneers statistically. Both teams finished with 12 total shots, an area in which the Bulldogs had previously struggled to match their opponents. The Pioneers maintained slight edges in saves and penalty corners, getting seven saves and five corners to the Elis’ four and three, respectively.

After the hard-fought match yesterday, the Bulldogs will take the next few days to tune up for another non-conference game at home against Holy Cross on Sunday.

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