At Thursday’s season opener, the Ladies field hockey team stifled the Transylvania University Pioneers by a score of 3-0. Kenyon (1-1; NCAC 1-0) won with its strong defense, allowing Transylvania (0-2; Lexington, Ky.) zero shots on goal, compared to 11 by the Ladies. The Ladies followed the victory with a loss against Centre College (2-0; Danville, Ky.) on Saturday and a win against the College of Wooster (0-3; NCAC 0-1) yesterday.
Kenyon’s field hockey team has been a dominant force in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) recently, with the Ladies winning the past two conference championships. Now on the trail of their third straight title, the Ladies have to figure out how to offset the loss of one of their most important players in the past four years, Maddie Breschi ’16. Breschi, a three-time All-American and Kenyon’s leading goal-scorer (52 career goals), graduated in May. She left behind a strong mark on Kenyon field hockey, but also a large void to be filled.
Zoe Chrissos ’18 is optimistic about her team’s ability to regroup. “My class on the whole has stepped up,” she said. “We were all working out over the summer.” Despite losing a few starters — Breschi, Christine Bloom ’16, Hannah Drake ’16 and Morgen Barroso ’16 — Chrissos believes the team has retained much of its talent.
“We still have a very solid core of returners,” she said.
One of those returners is All-American Goalie Sarah Speroff ’18, who recorded an average of 0.59 goals-allowed last year and 13 shutouts in 20 games. Ladies field hockey was one of the strongest defensive teams last year and hope to complement that strength with more scoring. “We need to be just as offensive as we are defensive,” Chrissos said.
To keep up the pressure on both sides of the field, Chrissos said a return to a competitive mentality would greatly benefit the team. “We can’t just sit back and wait for these things to happen to us, we have to work for it,” she said.
Chrissos and Lynne Cullen ’19 saw hard work pay off in the game against Transylvania. Both scored the first collegiate goals of their careers, and Cullen saw her first start after playing just three games last season.
Saturday’s game against Centre, a team that Kenyon has beaten in the past, showed the Ladies still have work to do: Centre poured in an enormous seven goals to Kenyon’s one.
“What happened this past weekend was a huge wake-up call,” Chrissos said. “We need to work together to achieve that same level of play and level of defense that we have so focused on in the past two years.”
Yesterday, the Ladies found their rhythm again in a 3-0 win against Wooster, their first NCAC game of the season. The Ladies’ trademark defense limited Wooster to 10 shots, and Speroff made nine saves for her second shutout of the season.
As the field hockey team moves further into conference play, its players hope to learn from defeat, aiming to improve transition defense and rekindle their competitive spirit.
“The most important thing for us is to hold each other accountable,” Cullen said. “All we need to do is be harder on ourselves.”