Field Hockey defeats Kenyon, Denison to clinch share of NCAC title

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The DePauw University field hockey team defeated Kenyon College 2-1 on Saturday, Oct. 22, and beat Denison University 2-0 on Sunday, Oct. 23 to improve to 14-3 overall and 11-1 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC).  

With the two wins, the Tigers clinched a share of the NCAC title with two conference games to play.

The Tigers opened the weekend with a win in Gambier, Ohio the home of Kenyon. Both teams were scoreless in the first half, and junior forward Paige Berliner opened up the scoring in the 54th minute with a backhanded goal for DePauw. However, Kenyon responded less than four minutes later with a goal from Shannon Hart. The game would be tied 1-1 until a goal from junior forward Reilly Bruce put the Tigers ahead with less than seven minutes to go, and DePauw would hold on for a 2-1 win.  

DePauw outshot Kenyon 21-9, while Berliner scored her 15th goal of the season and Bruce had her 10th goal of the season. Kate Milner, a first-year forward, assisted Bruce’s game-winning goal, which was her team-high 11th assist of the season.  

The Tigers came back the next day with another win, this time at Denison. Milner started off the scoring in the game putting the Tigers up 1-0  off of an assist by Berliner. Berliner would score the second goal for DePauw to secure the victory against the Big Red, 2-0.

The Tigers shut out Denison despite being outshot 10-4. Sophomore goalie Sarah Foye had four saves and got the shutout for the Tigers, while senior defender Sofia Carretero had a defensive save. DePauw had seven penalty corners to Denison’s three.  

With these victories, the Tigers extended their winning streak to eight straight games. They have two regular season games to play until the NCAC tournament. Senior defender Annie Wyman was impressed by the team’s success and knows the Tigers still have work to do this season.

“We play with the full 11 players on the field. Our opponents rely on a few strong players to carry the ball up the field, whereas we focus on a passing game. We know that we’re the team to beat in our conference, so we understand how important it is to play a consistent game,” Wyman said. “We’ve set a number of goals as a team this season, but going forward we know that we need to focus on our last two games in conference and win both. We’ve worked all season for the tournament championship title so our goal is to finish on top.”

Carretero also spoke of their success as a team. “We’ve been focusing on one game at a time.  On the field, we’ve done a great job playing as a cohesive unit, moving together on the field and connecting our passes,” she said.   

Junior forward Tori Wittemann noted how important and tough each game is, and how the Tigers could still improve, even though they have been playing well. “In our conference any team can win on any day and it’s all about who is going to show up and really play their game,” Wittemann said. “We can work on setting the tone right from the beginning of the game and staying focused on the present game and not the future.”

DePauw will host Earlham College tonight at  7 p.m. in Reavis Stadium.