After the U of L women’s soccer team pulled off a thrilling upset against number one North Carolina Thursday night, the eleventh-ranked U of L field hockey team looked to do the same against top-ranked Syracuse the following night. Unfortunately, the Cardinals fell short in the final minutes losing 2-1 when the final horn aired.
It was a physical game fueled on emotion given by both teams. Together they racked up a total of seven penalty cards by the end of the game with five of them coming in the second half.
“It’s good that our emotion can really fuel us to play and compete with the best. As you get later in the game, you can’t let that emotion tip over the edge to make poor decisions defensively or get frustrated on attack, because we still had those opportunities and we weren’t composed or poised enough to be able to execute, so that was the difference today,” said U of L head coach Justine Sowry.
Syracuse got off to a fast start to begin the evening. With just over four minutes into the game Syracuse midfielder Alma Fenne scored on a deflection off of U of L’s freshman goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran’s hand into the cage, giving the Orange an early 1-0 lead.
Missed opportunities have haunted the Cards this season. After back-to-back corner shots as time expired in the first period, the Cardinals put up three shots that were ultimately stopped by Syracuse’s Jess Jecko. Even with the 4-2 edge in penalty shots for Louisville, Syracuse still led 1-0 going into halftime.
A strong defensive effort was displayed by both teams leaving them scoreless for over 20 minutes into the second period. It wasn’t until the Cards were awarded their first corner of the second half. Senior Megan Anstotz gave a go ahead to her fellow senior Elisa Garcia who fired and scored her fourth goal of the season, tying the game 1-1 with 13:16 left in the game.
Although the pressure was mounted on Syracuse, emotions were still heavy on the Cards which ultimately got the best of them when a penalty stroke was awarded to the Orange with 5:21 left in regulation. Roos Weers put the Orange ahead 2-1 after sending a ball just past McFerran’s outstretched stick.
With four minutes left in the game, Syracuse was down a player after Erin Gillingham was issued a yellow card. Unfortunately the Cardinals failed to score in the game’s final minutes, and ultimately fell to Syracuse 2-1 at the end of regulation.
The Cardinals had a 5-2 advantage in penalty corners where coach Sowry still sees room for improvement for her team.
“Now we’re getting into the crunch time of the season, we got to be able to put our chances away. And certainly our penalty corner unit– we got to step it up because it’s really letting us down right now,” Sowry said.
The Cardinals now fall to 7-5 and remain winless in the ACC (0-4). They look to travel for a non-conference game at Ohio State this Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1pm.