Elks shake off slow start to defeat Indians
Special to the Whig
— Even though Elkton dominated possession in the first half, it appeared out of sync. The speed of the turf at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium created a challenge during its field hockey battle with North East.
The Golden Elks gathered at halftime to talked it out. They played much better in the second half, leading to a pair of Erin DePaul goals in their 2-0 Susquehanna Division victory over the Indians Monday afternoon.
“I think we came out really flat. I don’t know what the atmosphere was like, but it wasn’t a positive one. We kind of had a ‘Kumbaya’ and told ourselves that we had to pick it up
if wanted to keep our [undefeated] record, and if we wanted to win this game,” DePaul said. “North East put up a really good fight, and we had to come back a little, I think, in the second half.”
When Elkton attempted passes in the first half, the ball went farther on the perfectly flat surface at Rullo Stadium than it normally would go on the hilly and bumpy surface at their home field. It took until the second half for the Golden Elks to get used to the speed.
“Our field has weeds, bumps and hills, and this one is perfectly still. It’s like playing on concrete,” DePaul added. “It definitely was a big adjustment for a lot of the girls and everyone on the field.”
From the start of the second half, Elkton played on its attacking half and put strong pressure on the North East defense. That pressure paid off as the Golden Elks earned a penalty stroke 4:11 into the second half.
DePaul took the stroke and she rocketed a shot that went about two feet in the air past the Indians goaltender and into the net to give Elkton a 1-0 lead.
The Golden Elks (10-0 overall, 6-0 Susquehanna) kept control of the ball over the next 10 minutes, eventually increasing their lead to 2-0 with 14:12 remaining when DePaul deposited a Maddie Rzucidlo pass into to the cage.
North East (2-8, 1-4) applied some offensive pressure in the final minutes of the game, but Elkton’s defense held strong to preserve the shutout and continue its undefeated streak to start the year, which is something the Golden Elks are trying not to put too much stock into, even though they know they’re on a special run.
“We take it one game at a time. It’s not like one loss is going to ruin the season. We’ve still had one heck of a season. We’re thankful for every win we do get,” Elkton coach Renee Dunn said. “Sometimes, teams don’t show up, and we could be that team that doesn’t show up. We have to come to every game and play every single minute of every game.”
Elkton’s Kemunto Okindo controls the ball while North East’s Maya Allen defends during the Golden Elks’ 2-0 Susquehanna Division victory Monday at the University of Delaware.