Field Hockey Falls to Denison in first meeting

The Wooster field hockey team’s defense was particularly impressive in their match against Denison, as the Scots did not surrender a goal through five periods of play. Image courtesy of Wooster Athletics.
Langston Hood, Senior Sports Writer

Spirits were high as the Wooster field hockey team kicked off an action-packed day on the turf with a matchup against the Denison College Big Red at John P. Papp Stadium. Swaths of alumni, young and old, propelled the Fighting Scots through a highly contentious meeting with the Big Red. Two alumni and former Scots players from the class of 2021 shared their thoughts on the game. “The game was thrilling,” said Catilyn O’Connor ’21, “the energy and love filled Papp Stadium and the girls brought their A game.”  O’Connor’s former running mate, Sydney Schuster ’21, shared her positivity. “You could tell there was a lot of leadership and love out on that field Saturday,” said Schuster. “With a small team lots of people had to step up, and it was clear they did that!”

The energy in and around Papp Stadium translated into a stalemate through the first quarter as Denison only managed one shot. However, Wooster failed to capitalize and score a goal. Denison ramped up the offensive pressure in the second quarter, peppering the Wooster goal with seven shots. Goalkeeper Cate Barkdoll ’26 was up for each and every shot, as she made five saves in the second quarter. “[Barkdoll] played amazing,” said Jillian Murray ’23, “she had so many saves including a stroke in the second quarter.” The one attack that seemed to jeopardize Barkdoll’s perfect quarter was stomped out by Maddie Peek ’24, when she dropped back to record a defensive save following a rebounded shot. 

Wooster subsided the Denison onslaught and regained their footing. While Peek managed a penalty corner shot from Delaney Gross ’24, she unfortunately missed the target. The fourth quarter unfolded much like the third, but with the Big Red recording a shot. Though this shot found its target, Lucy Agurkis ’23 stamped out the attack to make her own defensive save. Throughout the game, Wooster’s performance inspired Agurkis. “Overall it was a really hard fought battle,” said Agurkis. “Our team really started connecting passes and working together as a unit!” With the conclusion of regulation, overtime began, the ultimate test of a team’s grit and desire, as the raucous crowd of 326 stood on their feet. Both teams appeared to be exhausted as they each recorded a single shot, neither posing a threat to their respective targets. 

The second overtime period was much different, as Wooster was determined to win the game before it ended in a scoreless tie. The attack began with a shot from Mary Johnson ’26, which forced a save from Big Red goalie Athena Joannou ’25. The referees awarded Wooster a penalty corner immediately after, resulting in a volley of shots on the goal from Peek, Agurkis and Johnson. However, Joannou parried each shot, denying the Scots the game winner. With their attack stymied by the Denison defense, Wooster struggled to muster up another threatening chance as Denison went on the front foot in search of their own game winner. Denison’s final attack began with a penalty corner, which eventually turned into a shot. Unfortunately, this attack proved fatal, as Denison found the back of the net and sunk the Scots.

Peek reflected on the team’s fight following the game. “While the end result of the game was not what we had hoped for,” she said, “the entire team fought so hard from the beginning of the game to the end of OT which was awesome to see and be a part of.” Like Peek, Gross is optimistic about the team’s growth, which she focused on in her comments. “The ending of the game was tough, but everyone gave 100% on the field this weekend,” said Gross. “With every game we have been getting stronger and connecting more, which is exciting for conference play coming up in a few weeks.” Wooster did not end Black and Gold Weekend with the result they wanted, but they’ll get another shot at Dension on Oct. 15, a date the Scots will have circled on their calendar. 

The Fighting Scots get back into action this weekend with fixtures against Bridgewater and Transylvania at home. Come support Friday and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively!!

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