Duhawk defense shines despite loss against Pipers

On Saturday, March 10, the Duhawks hosted their home opener and first conference matchup against the Pipers of Hamline University resulting in a loss of 16-4.

“We came out strong,” said Head Coach Barbara Vega. “We started with intensity, but once Hamline scored a couple of quick goals, we struggled to bring the energy back up the rest of the game. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to execute.”

Photo courtesy of Loras College Athletics — Senior Sarah Hanson looks to pass to her teammates down-field.

At the beginning of the game, the Lady Duhawks came out swinging, matching Hamline pace for pace. Hamline scored first, but junior Renata Veljacic soon answered back with a goal of her own.

But when Hamline scored again, and kept firing at the Duhawk net, the Duhawk’s energy slowed. Near the end of the first half, sophomore Olivia Flynn found the back of the net, leaving the halftime score 9-2 in favor of the Pipers.

The offense for the Duhawks continued to struggle throughout the second half, with two goals from senior Sarah Hanson, one near the middle of the half and one near the end. However, there were several strong aspects of the contest that drew praise from the coach.

“We had very strong midfield defense, and on the defensive side, the communication was really strong,” said Vega.

Throughout the game, the offense worked hard to keep the ball down on the Duhawk side, swarming the ball and doubling to ensure that it was slowed down before it reached the defensive end.

On the defensive end, senior Kaitlin Seich, junior Adira Dangoy, sophomore Rebecca Heibing, and first-years Maggie Sheehan and Kayla Tilkes worked hard to get the ball back for the Duhawks and shut down the Piper offense.

Despite some solid clears to upfield, Piper passes brought it back to the offensive end. Anchoring the defensive front was senior goalie Ashley McGee who came away with seven saves to keep the Duhawks afloat.

The Duhawks will return on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. in the Rock Bowl to play the previously postponed matchup against Carroll University.

Then on Saturday, March 17 they will travel to Benedictine University. As Loras spends the week preparing for those games, the coach will be tweaking the offense.

“We have a lot of great players, but we need to find a way to get everybody together. Once it clicks, I think we’ll be in a nice flow and be very successful,” said Vega.

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Halea Griffin is a sports writer for The Lorian.

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