The Elizabethtown College field hockey team is filled with hope and skill — a deadly combination to any foe who crosses its path. Strengthening this team are new players and veteran seniors. A strong bench now exists for the team, a change many think will improve the team.
“I think we have a deep bench this year, meaning that every girl on the team has the talent and skill needed for the game,” senior Jackie Zylka said. This is the last year the Etown Blue Jays will be a part of the MAC Conference. The Jays will not leave quietly though; this year’s seniors would like to end it on a high note. The MAC title is the target and the Blue Jays are ready to fire.
Scoring was a problem for last year’s team. The players did not believe it was a strong point. However, with many shooting drills and practices, the team thinks they have a handle on it. Improvements to all areas seem to have occurred for the team. Equipped with better shooting skills and a strong bench, the Blue Jays are ready for action.
During the team’s game on Saturday, Sept. 14 against the Delaware Valley College Aggies, the Jays were looking for a win. Going into the game, Head Coach Brandy Michael was looking for a shutout. What followed her request was nothing less than perfect. Within the first five minutes of the game, the Blue Jays scored via senior Casey Fletcher and sophomore Jackie Hikes with the assist.
The Jays effort did not stop there. They went on to score three more goals in the first half, making the score 4-0 in favor of the Blue Jays.
The goals were scored by junior Kaylee Werner, followed by two in a row by Hikes.
The assists were by Hikes, sophomore Andrea Keady and first-year Nicole Leaf respectively. Overall, the Blue Jays were amazing in this first half, with great possession and movement down the field. If the Jays did not have control of the ball, they did not have trouble gaining control. A huge amount of the team’s first half success was teamwork and being able to gain the footing they needed and move their plays. When the second half began, the Blue Jays were more on the defensive against the Aggies.
Fletcher said this was due to each team playing hard and having different people up in the game. But even though it was a slow start for them out of the gate in the first ten minutes after the half, the Jays soon heated up.
The defense provided by senior goalie Marlena Johnson was phenomenal and her teammates were quick to defend. A good part of this defense was not only provided by Johnson, but also the team’s ability to break up the action. The defense got out there and got the focus away from their goal and over to the Aggies.
As the Blue Jays got back into their offensive push, they soon scored a goal with more than 10 minutes left in the game. Junior Taylor Alwine scored this goal for the Jays and Hikes had the assist.
Etown had a few more chances, but while they did not score, neither did the Aggies. The Blue Jays defeated the Aggies with a final score of 5-0. Hikes had an impressive game and said it was due to a team effort and being in the right spot. She also said they focused hard on working together. The Blue Jays ultimately pulled off an impressive shutout against the Delaware Valley Aggies.
The Blue Jays added to their win total yesterday with a 2-1 victory over Muhlenberg College. Hikes continued her offensive outburst, tallying both of Etown’s goals.
Etown will now face third ranked Salisbury University on Saturday in Maryland. at 1 p.m.