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Field hockey drops two games versus ranked opponents, falls to 2-6

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Courtesy of Mark Campbell/Delaware Athletics
Delaware field hockey now sits at 2-6 after two tough home losses to Princeton and Rutgers, both ranked opponents.

Managing Sports Editor

The No. 22 Delaware Blue Hens (2-6) came up short in two ranked matchups this past weekend. On Friday, No. 18 Princeton bested the Blue Hens 3-2. Two days later, No. 10 Rutgers grabbed a road win over the Blue Hens. 

In the former matchup, the Tigers grabbed their first win of the season thanks to a goal in the 54th minute by junior Claire Donovan. Ten minutes earlier, junior midfielder Beth Yeager tied the game at 2-2 with a goal after weaving her way through the Delaware defense. Princeton’s opening goal of the game was made by fellow midfielder Sammy Popper.

The Tigers came into the game coming off of three losses versus ranked Atlantic Coast Conference opponents — North Carolina, Louisville and Duke.

For the Blue Hens, sophomore Julia Duffhuis scored her fourth goal (27th minute) of the season and forward Emma Gladstein (37th minute) notched her first career goal. However, Delaware was only able to muster one other shot, for a total of three on the day.

Comparatively, Princeton had 13 shots on the day, with nine of them being on the net. Blue Hen goalkeeper Lizzie Gaebal had six saves on the day, while Princeton goalkeeper Robyn Thompson had zero saves after only contending with Delaware’s three total shots.

Heading into Sunday, the Blue Hens were 2-5 with three consecutive losses versus ranked opponents. Their matchup against Rutgers extended that streak to four games when the Scarlet Knights triumphed in a 2-0 decision

After the Princeton loss, head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof said the team played with “two personalities,” one fueling their 2-1 lead and the other leading to their late struggles. 

“One personality allows us to enjoy a solid performance, where we play strong team defense and create an attack allowing us to score,” van de Kerkhof said after the game. “The other personality is that we don’t play simple, struggle to work as a team and lack consistency in discipline.”

The attacking offense van de Kerkhof was looking for did not show up on Sunday, as the Rutgers defense and goalkeeper Gianna Glatz shut out the Blue Hens.

In the fourth minute, freshman Lucy Bannatyne scored her fourth career goal. Senior Kerrie Burns added a goal in the 14th minute following a rebound off of her teammate’s shot. 

Unlike the Princeton matchup, Delaware matched Rutgers in shots with seven and had just one less shot on goal than the Scarlet Knights. Gaebal once again received the start in goal and made three saves for Delaware.

The win was the fourth ranked victory for Rutgers this season and moved their record to 6-1 on the year. Meanwhile, Delaware fell to 1-5 facing ranked opponents this fall. Van de Kerkhof did take positives away from the game despite the 2-0 shutout.

“I am proud of my team for opening up more towards each other on how they feel and either complement or confront each other which is another sign of growth within our players group,” van de Kerkhof said following the loss. “The result does not reflect the couple of small steps we have taken forward as a team and program.”

Van de Kerkhof also mentioned that the tests against many ranked opponents to start the season will help with Delaware’s preparation for Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play at the start of next month.

Upcoming on the schedule are two road games in Philadelphia: one at Temple on Sep 26 and the next at St. Joseph’s on Oct 1. They open their CAA schedule at home against Towson on Oct 3.

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