Following a loss against Bloomsburg, Head Coach Shelly Behrens gave the Millersville field hockey team a challenge: win the last three games of the season. One down, two to go.
The lady Marauders put on an offensive clinic in a 5-2 win against Mansfield last Saturday. The five goals matched a season high. Behrens thought it was a great game for the team from front to back. Junior Kristie Testa scored two goals in the first 85 seconds of the game. Testa leads the lady Marauders with nine goals and 22 points.
“She’s opportunistic and works hard to get the ball,” Behrens said.
Testa has seen more attention lately from other teams, and has reacted to it. Behrens said she has been selfless in her approach by giving the ball to open teammates when she draws more defenders.
Even when they were up 2-0, Behrens thought it was a dangerous position to be in and feared the team would become complacent early. However, Millersville did not let up.
Jessica Cave scored an unassisted goal in the sixth minute. Ten minutes later, Julia Garber extended the lead to four. Freshman Chelsea Smith assisted the goal for her first career point.
After that, the lady Marauders never looked back. Behrens said her favorite goal of the game was the fifth and final goal by sophomore Kayla Weiler. After consecutive passes between Testa, Kristie Bupp, and Meredith Dollinger, Weiler pounded the ball into the back of the net. It was a set piece they worked on in practice and worked to perfection.
To Behrens, this is what it is all about; taking their hard work in practice and translating it into success on game days.
Their previous game against Mansfield was also a win, but a much closer result. Millersville defeated Mansfield 1-0 on Sept. 20. This is further evidence that this team keeps getting better.
“I have really seen our growth from the first half of the season to the second half,” Behrens said.
Behrens felt this is largely because of the growth of the team as a whole. She said they believe in each other, and that despite some of the stumbling blocks along the way they have been able to handle a lot to get to this point.
The team’s approach to their last three games as a new season came after an 8-0 loss at Shippensburg. The game all came apart in a span of 10 minutes. Fifteen minutes into the game, the lady Raiders scored their first goal of the game. Their lead was 5-0 only 10 minutes later.
Despite the loss, there are several positives this young team can build upon. Their six wins is the most the team has had since 2004. Behrens is honest when she says she knows the team is not in the position to be a playoff team, but they are still working on becoming that.
“We are building for what we can do in the future,” Behrens said.
One of the lady Marauders’ last two games is their eighth and final PSAC-East match Saturday at home against East Stroudsburg. Millersville is 0-7 in their division and they would like to get a win.
For the remainder of the season, the lady Marauders would like to make a statement about what it means to be a Millersville field hockey player, and their attitude on the field will tell that.