By Neil Riley
Big Red Weekend ended on a sour note for DU field hockey after a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to DePauw in Piper Stadium, and the team was searching for redemption heading into their Oct. 1 rivalry match against Kenyon in Gambier, Ohio.
The Kenyon Ladies hold the top-seed in the NCAC standings and have yet to fall to conference competition this season.
The match began poorly for the Big Red. Kenyon scored the first three goals of the game and held DU scoreless in the first half.
52 minutes passed before Denison knocked a goal past the Ladies’ defense. Forward Greta Finney ‘16 was credited with both of the Big Red’s scores, but her effort was not enough to overcome Kenyon’s powerful attack.
The ladies protected their home turf and sent the Big Red home with a 5-2 loss.
Heading into the Oct. 2 game against Transylvania, Denison needed to bounce back after a short streak of disappointing losses.
Midfielder Jen Durbin ‘18 was happy with the squad’s ability to refocus between the two matches.
“We focus on the little things and what needs to be fixed in our practices and transfer that to our game play,” Durbin said.
“By having our focus on what we needed to fix in our game and using the losses as teaching moments we were able to not dwell on losing but instead make the necessary adjustments so that we would be successful in the future.”
Returning home, Denison rocketed to, and maintained a comfortable lead over the Pioneers.
Before the two minute mark, Emily Marlatt ‘18 scored the first goal of the game.
A goal from Durbin, Britta Marden ‘16, Lucy Pearsall ‘19 and a pair from Abby Martone ‘17 established what proved to be an insurmountable lead for the Big Red over the Pioneers.
DU goalie Ellen Westfall ‘19 recovered well after a difficult match against Kenyon. Against Transylvania, she nabbed four saves and only allowed a single goal.
Westfall has gained confidence even over the first half of the season with the help of her teammates.
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure to play such a vital position as a freshman, so of course I always worry about messing up,” the goalie said.
“Fortunately, as I said before, the upperclassmen and especially the seniors (Allie Bacon and Elsie Humes in particular) have been so supportive and confident in my abilities.”
Bacon ended the scoring for Denison with an unassisted goal after a Pioneer-defense splitting move.
A substantial 7-1 victory for DU eased the much-needed mid season recovery.
The Big Red will need all the momentum they can muster as they face the meat of their NCAC conference schedule. They return to action in Wooster, Ohio against the Fighting Scots today.