The Ladies field hockey team closed its season Saturday with a loss to the Salisbury University Sea Gulls in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. This year’s NCAA tournament was Kenyon’s first national field hockey competition since a first-round exit in 2014.
On Nov. 9, Kenyon faced Elizabethtown College (14-5; Elizabethtown, Pa.) in the first round of the tournament. The Ladies’ offense was nonexistent at the match’s start; Kenyon failed to make a shot in the first half, while the Elizabethtown Blue Jays capped off the first half with a goal fewer than two minutes before halftime. Slow starts had become the recent norm for the Ladies, who came back from 0-1 deficits in both of their NCAC tournament victories.
Late in the second half, the Ladies began to turn the match around, tying the game with a Hannah Sklar ’20 goal, assisted by Shannon Hart ’18, off a penalty corner. In overtime — after goalie Sarah Speroff ’18 came up with a save on a Blue Jay’s breakaway — the Ladies delivered on another penalty corner when Katelyn Hutchinson ’18 assisted Kelsey Trulik ’18 for the game-winner.
For their next game, the Ladies traveled further east to face Salisbury University (17-1; Salisbury, Md.). In a National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, Division-III field hockey coaches ranked the Salisbury Sea Gulls second in the nation; Kenyon could not crack the top 20. The first half began with the two goalies trading saves, but after the 24-minute mark, the Sea Gulls found the back of the net off a rebound. The second half proved worse for the Ladies, as Salisbury scored another goal off a penalty corner and then finished the Ladies off with one more goal to push the score to 0-3.
Overall, Salisbury outshot Kenyon 16-9, and Speroff, despite her nine saves, could not stop the Sea Gulls’ attack on her own.
Done for this year, the Ladies look forward to another strong season next fall. Continuity will help Kenyon field hockey make another run at the national tournament. All of the team’s starters will return, including Speroff, this season’s North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Defensive Player of the Year, and Hutchinson, Kenyon’s leading scorer with 11 goals this season.