The AU field hockey team fell 4-1 to the Old Dominion University Lady Monarchs in Charlottesville, Va., in their season opener Aug. 28, after preseason rankings supported a much tighter matchup.
The game began sourly for the Eagles (0-1), who began the season ranked No. 10 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll.
Emma Batten scored following a goal from Kelsey Smither for the No. 12 Monarchs (2-0), which supported an early lead within the first 13 minutes of play.
“Old Dominion is a great team and played very well in all facets of the game,” Head Coach Steve Jennings told AU Athletics. “We were not able to sustain the level of play we would have liked for the entire game. This is a disappointing loss, but we can learn a lot from the relentlessness ODU showed as we prepare for next week.”
AU struggled for most of the game trying to beat Old Dominion goalie Devon Seifert, with a total of four shots by Gina Hofmann, and one apiece by Jenn Bradley, Shelly Montgomery and Kati Rothenhoefer.
Bradley was able to score AU’s single goal at the 53rd minute, but by that time Old Dominion had doubled its score. ODU’s Lydia Velzian scored her first goal of the season, while Emma Batten added her second of the game.
The Eagles’ struggle to penetrate the goal coupled with their inability to defend Batten provided the reason for the season-opening loss.
ODU outshot AU 9-7, and each team attempted five penalty corners for the game. The Eagles will need to do a better job of capitalizing on these penalty corners as the season wears on.
Stephanie Burry surrendered four goals and made one save for the Eagles, before Ashley Dalisera took over for the remaining 24 minutes. Seifert stopped three shots for the Monarchs.
AU will return to the field this weekend as they host the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on Friday, Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. w No. 7 Princeton on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. Sunday’s game also marks the annual Phil Jacobs event, which had a turnout of 1,013 fans last year.
A return to their home turf for two games could give the women the boost they need to start the 2011 season on the right foot.