By Michael Otero
Before the match against Pace University on Thursday, Sept. 29, the Pioneers earned the no. 1 overall ranking as voted on in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II Poll.
As for the game itself, the Pioneers handled the Setters easily and won 4-1 to improve to 7-0 on the season. The Pioneers got on the board early in the match thanks to a score on a penalty stroke. Freshman midfielder Arantxa Rosainz Caloca notched the first of her two goals in the tenth minute to put the Pioneers on top. The
Setters got their opportunity to even the score in the same way, but senior goalie Ericka Parks blocked the shot, keeping the Pioneers in front. The 1-0 score held until halftime.
In the later half, the Pioneers were again awarded a penalty stroke and senior midfielder Steph Mocerino buried the shot to double the Pioneers’ advantage. After that tally, sophomore forward/midfielder Emily Miller and Rosainz Caloca followed up with scores to widen the gap for the Green and Gold.
The Setters got on the board in the 60th minute to make it 4-1, but did very little to make the Pioneers sweat late in the game. The shot total spoke for itself; the Pioneers held a 21-10 advantage in that department.
After the match, Head Coach Raenee Savin said of her team’s surge of success, “We continue to take it one day at a time and focus on only the game ahead of us.” She added, “The coaching staff continues to make sure the team never underestimates their opponents and that they stay grounded, even with all of the excitement we have surrounding our recent success.”
The Pioneers continued their quest for a perfect season when they welcomed no. 7-ranked Saint Anselm College into Brookville, N.Y., for an NE-10 conference showdown on Saturday, Oct. 1. The Pioneers were pushed to the limit, but, like every other match this season, came out victorious.
With the win, the Pioneers improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play and knocked off the Hawks from Saint Anselm College who came into the match tied atop in the conference standings. The visitors dropped to 8-2 and 3-1 in NE-10 play.
The Pioneers battled all afternoon and were awarded with a dramatic 2-1 overtime win although early on, it seemed like another classic Pioneer victory. The Green and Gold struck first; this time, junior defender Grace Ilias sent a backhand swing passed the keeper for the one-goal lead in the 11th minute. The Pioneers were denied another scoring chance by an effective defensive play, but held the 1-0 lead at the halftime whistle.
In the second half, the Hawks got the equalizer from junior defender Erin Collins and suddenly the game was tied. As time ticked on, regulation was not enough to decide a winner and overtime was necessary to settle the battle. The game was screaming out for a hero from both sides and junior forward Kaycee Zelkovsky played it, firing the game-winning, walk-off goal to keep the Pioneers’ loss column clean.
The field hockey team will try to go 9-0 when it faces-off against Adelphi University from Garden City, N.Y. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.