By Michael Otero
The No. 5 ranked field hockey team (11-2) returned to action on Wednesday, Oct. 30, when they traveled to Garden City, N.Y., to battle with the No. 7 ranked Panthers from Adelphi University (10-4). The Pioneers were superb both offensively and defensively, netting five goals and shutting out the highly touted Panther offense.
In the 12th minute of the contest, the Pioneers had a golden scoring opportunity and they took full advantage of it. Off a corner from junior forward Keliann Margiotta, graduate defender Dani Crouse found the back of the net to give the visitors the quick 1-0 lead. Both teams played stellar defense for the remainder of the first half, but the Pioneers managed to outshoot the Panthers, giving them some confidence heading into halftime.
Just minutes into the second half, Margiotta capitalized on a scramble in front of the net and found the back of the cage to put the Pioneers up two goals. Freshman forward Kaycee Zelkovsky then put the game out of reach with two goals in a four-minute span. Margiotta put the cherry on top with a goal in the 66th minute. The Pioneers totaled 19 shots and the suffocating LIU defense allowed measly five shots on the afternoon. Sophomore goalkeeper Ericka Parks kept the Panthers off the scoreboard and recorded three saves in the victory.
With their confidence sky high, the Green and Gold traveled to Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 1, when they faced off against the Purple Knights from St. Michaels College (8-6). The Pioneers got the best of their Northeast-10 Conference rival in a match that featured one lone goal.
The first 35 minutes of action saw a total of zero goals, as both sides played very strong on the defensive end. In the 42nd minute, Crouse found Margiotta inside the circle and Margiotta scored a goal, the only one that day. The Pioneers racked up 21 shots while the Purple Knights totaled zero. Parks earned her ninth victory on the season and posted back-to-back shutouts.
On the season, the Pioneers rank first in the nation with 4.21 goals per game. Individually, Margiotta has scored 24 of LIU’s 53 goals so far while accumulating 10 assists. She also currently leads all of Division II in average goals per game with 1.91.
Head Coach Raenee Savin and her squad return to action on Friday, Nov. 7, when they welcome Bellarmine University to Brookville, N.Y. Game time is set for 2 p.m.