Field Hockey Falls Between the Raindrops

Ariel Lewis, Sports Editor

Oberlin field hockey has been stuck in the mud recently — and not just figuratively. The Yeowomen’s Homecoming game against DePauw University on Saturday, Sept. 29, was moved to Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio because of poor field conditions. The Yeowomen couldn’t overcome Mother Nature, falling 0–6. This past Wednesday, Oberlin slogged it out, this time at home, in a 2–5 loss to the College of Wooster Fighting Scots in a rain-filled contest.

Oberlin’s offense was stagnant against DePauw, putting a lot of pressure on the defense. Junior goalkeeper Kiran Puri was stellar in goal, notching 22 saves, 15 of which came in the first half. DePauw — a newcomer to the North Coast Athletic Conference this season — only led by two after the first half thanks to the effort of the back line, offering Oberlin a chance at resurgence. But with only one shot on goal during the entire contest, Oberlin was unable to mount a comeback.

“It was definitely an adjustment,” senior midfielder and captain Kiri Brenner said. “I feel like [the field] might have affected us in a small way, especially because it was Homecoming and we had alumni who had to drive an extra hour away to watch us play. But it was an uncontrollable factor, and we’ve been working on rising above those as a team.”

The contest against Wooster was a tug-of-war, with Oberlin leading the Scots early thanks to an unassisted goal from first-year forward Jodi Helsel. Wooster responded with two goals of its own to close out the first half, but the Yeowomen brought the score right back to even early in the second. A clean pass from first-year midfielder Claire Yeske to the stick of sophomore and fellow midfielder Lindani Johnson set the score at two apiece, putting the Yeowomen in position to push ahead with only ten minutes left on the clock.

Another impressive performance on defense allowed Oberlin to stay competitive. Wooster took 28 shots on goal compared to Oberlin’s four. Once again Puri was essential in keeping Oberlin afloat, as she posted 13 saves on the game. Unfortunately the effort was not enough, as Wooster’s offense finally broke through for three additional goals in the final 10 minutes, putting Oberlin away 2–5.

“Wooster is one of the better teams in the conference,” Brenner said. “Today we hung with them for the entire game, and the score was not reflective of the way that they played. They got three fast break goals that were impossible for us to stop. It was exciting for us because we haven’t played with Wooster, on their level, in a very long time.”

The Yeowomen, who were conference champions as recently as 2005, are still positive they can reclaim their former glory despite the setbacks against Depauw and Wooster.

“Our goal is still to finish in the top four teams in our conference so we can go to the conference tournament. Over the next few games our goal is to play consistently, apply what we have learned in practice and keep up our intensity,” Brenner said. Oberlin returns to action at home next Tuesday, Oct. 4, against Trine University.