After two more losses last week, the Millersville field hockey team sits at the bottom of the standings once again. However, because of their tough schedule and the improvements they have made, the team is far from getting frustrated.
The lady Marauders’ 0-3 record against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference opponents may seem dreadful to some, but a look at their opponents’ rankings tells another story.
Of Millersville’s three PSAC opponents, the lowest nationally-ranked team they played was eighth, including number-one ranked Bloomsburg. Because of this difficult schedule, Head Coach Shelley Behrens has yet to lose faith in her team. In fact, she demands more.
“I am trying to get everything out of them I can, and they are giving it,” Behrens said.
The task of having their first winning season in ten years has not gotten off to a good start, but Behrens thinks that she has seen plenty to believe that they are getting to where they need to be.
Against No. 8 Kutztown, the lady Marauders jumped out to an early lead thanks to Junior Kristie Testa’s goal in the second minute of the game. After Kutztown tied the game, Millersville answered with goals by sophomores Emily Woodland and Jessica Cave. Testa, Sophomore Julia Garber, and Senior Renee Fraker all contributed one assist each.
This was the type of offensive explosion the team lacked in their 1-0 loss against C.W. Post, the previous game.
“I was pleased with the style of play, and pleased they stuck with the game plan,” Behrens said.
The goalkeeping has also got the job done. While not winning any games, Freshman Sara Dickinson limited some high-powered offenses and kept the lady Marauders in the game. Dickinson made 11 saves against Kutztown and 12 saves in an 8-0 loss against Bloomsburg.
While Behrens thinks it would be great to have a win by this point in the season, she has used the positives as things to build on and motivate her team.
“I am more disappointed for them than in them,” Behrens said.
Millersville now looks forward to a showdown with Shippensburg at home Thursday.
Once again, Behrens’ confidence has not diminished.
“I expect to win Thursday,” Behrens said.
While their opponents have had better teams on paper, the lady Marauders are now at the point of their schedule where they get to see if the progress they made can result in victories.
“They are doing everything I have asked them to do,” Behrens said. “We’re just going to stay the course.”
Following the game at home against Shippensburg, Millersville hits the road for four straight games. Some may consider this a negative thing, but Behrens is excited at the chance for her young team to bond and gain cohesiveness on the road.
The lady Marauders cannot control the result, all they can do is play up to the level they are capable of playing to and hope it results in a victory.
Behrens has a simple plan for Shippensburg and their following game Saturday at Mansfield.
“We are going to throw everything and the kitchen sink at somebody.”