Bison Field Hockey go 1-1 in Season Openers

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Kaylee Donnelly, Contributing Writer

The Bison field hockey team opened their season at home on Graham Field this past weekend with games on Friday and Sunday. On Friday, Aug. 27, the Bison suffered a 3-0 loss to No. 24 ranked James Madison. The team was able to come back Sunday, Aug. 29 to defeat Long Island University (LIU) 2-1 in an exciting overtime match. 

The James Madison Dukes scored early in the game, putting them ahead of the Bison by two goals only nine minutes into the match. Despite initial adversity, the rest of the game proved to be a competitive one, with the Orange and the Blue keeping up with the No. 24 ranked team. 

The Bison went down by 3 in the third quarter, and proceeded to hold the Dukes until the end of the game, with a solid effort from Clara McCormick ’23 in goal with six saves. Although none of their attempts resulted in a goal, the Bison were able to outshoot James Madison towards the final minutes of the game. Gugulethu Sibanda ’24 and M.K. Stefanowicz ’22 led the team in shots with two a piece. 

“Our games this weekend were really about developing our team,” McCormick said. “JMU is a skillful team, so we took it upon ourselves to learn from their strengths.”

The Bison bounced back on Sunday in a hard battle against LIU. After going down 1-0 in the third quarter, the Orange and the Blue did not hang their heads and quit. In a strong show of determination from the Orange and Blue, Lily Neilson ’24 scored the game tying goal with just 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter to bring the Bison into overtime.

Stefanowicz was able to score the game winning goal only 58 seconds into overtime off a penalty corner, awarding the Bison their first win of the season and bringing the team record to 1-1. The goal was helped on by both Kayla Kisthardt ’23 and Erin Zielinski ’22.

“We were super excited to start the new season coming off of our Patriot League win!” Zielinski said following their win against LIU. “We played two teams this weekend that tested our team in different ways, both physically and mentally. Though we learned a ton, we still have a ton of work to do. We’re looking forward to testing our progress again this weekend!”

The Bison are on the road at Villanova this upcoming Friday to face off with the Wildcats. The game takes place at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3.

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