After a 0-5 start, the Millersville field hockey team is suddenly on a roll.
The team’s first win of the season, Shelley Behrens’ first as head coach, did not come easy.
The lady Marauders battled Mansfield on Saturday and it took longer than 70 minutes of regulation to decide a winner. The two teams took each other’s best shots and had to settle it overtime with a scoreless tie.
Three minutes into overtime, Sophomore Jessica Cave took a pass from Junior Krista Bupp and put it in the back of the net for the game-winning goal.
Freshman Sara Dickinson made five saves in the contest. She also recorded her first collegiate shutout.
When the game went into overtime, Behrens was confident her team would pull out a victory because of their practice routine.
Overtime features six players and a goalkeeper. Because this is different from the number of players on the field during regulation, the lady Marauders work on their overtime strategy and game plan often in practice. They executed that same game plan on Saturday and it paid off.
While Behrens thought her team could have done better, they still left Mansfield with their first win.
Behrens was excited to get her first win in such a hostile crowd, but more important was the players’ reaction.
“The best part of the game was watching the kids celebrate afterwards,” Behrens said.
The lady Marauders were not satisfied with one win. On Tuesday, Millersville traveled to Seton Hill for a non-PSAC game and won their second straight game 4-2. After having trouble converting on opportunities earlier this season, the team finally started lighting up the scoreboard. The four goals were the most they have scored in one game this season.
The first score of the game was an unassisted goal by Junior Meredith Dolinger in the 26th minute.
Just two minutes later, the lady Marauders extended the lead to two on a goal by Junior Kristie Testa.
It was her third of the season, which ties her for a team-high.
A penalty shot goal by Bupp in the second half made the score 3-0 and gave the team their largest lead so far this season. Cave added another goal in the 61st minute.
Behrens kept convincing her team that the wins were going to come after all of the hard work they have put in this season.
However, the schedule has been tough and they had not gotten the result they had been looking for until the game against Mansfield.
But she saw the hard work they were putting in and kept convincing the team that they were talented enough to win, even if it was not noticeable from their record.
“Just because you don’t see the air you breathe does not mean there is no oxygen and carbon dioxide,” Behrens said.
Their last two wins followed a close loss against fourth-ranked Shippensburg. They outshot Millersville 21-8 in the 2-1 loss.
After second-half goal by the Red Raiders, Sophomore Emily Woodland tied the game seven minutes later with her third goal of the season.
However, after a yellow card forced the lady Marauders to play short handed, they lost the lead and the game.
Now with two wins, the expectations for the team continue to grow.
It was a game Behrens expected to win, but that is nothing new.
She feels that it would have been an issue if she did not expect the team to win.
This young team continues to grow, and the quality of opponents they have faced so far has helped the process.
And as the schedule continues to be against top-ranked opponents in the country, Behrens is keeping up the pace in practice. The team trains hard for this reason.
“I give credit to the kids,” Behrens said. “They are very resilient.”
Millersville’s record now sits at 2-5 and 0-3 against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference opponents
The lady Marauders want to build off this winning streak, but they are still taking it one game at a time. They will look for a third-straight win against East Stroudsburg on Saturday.