Field hockey repeating history

Field hockey repeating history

In 2005, the field hockey team started the season with a 7-2 win over Ohio. Then they dropped a 3-2 decision to Indiana. After the loss they went on to win 12 consecutive games on their way to second place in the Colonial Athletic Association.

This season, the Huskies again won their first game, a 5-0 trouncing of New Hampshire Aug. 26. They then faced off against No. 7 Penn State, and history repeated itself as Northeastern lost the second game of the season.

In New Hampshire, the Huskies passed well and controlled the game, earning the season-opening win for the sixth consecutive year. Four Huskies contributed to the scoring, beginning with senior co-captain Sarah Eckhoff in the ninth minute of play. Sophomore midfielder Ashley Bascetta assisted the goal with a pass across the net to an open Eckhoff on the left post. Less than five minutes later junior midfielders Ashley Webber and Ashley D’Ambra got the ball to junior forward Stephanie Casper for her first goal of the season.

Casper continued the success in the second half, scoring on a penalty corner from D’Ambra and senior co-captain Whitney Shean.

“We’ve always known Stephanie could shoot the ball,” said coach Cheryl Murtagh. “It is an understatement to say she has a hard shot. She has outstanding ability and now with the confidence and playing time she is scoring.”

The Huskies’ final two goals came from Bascetta in the 58th minute and Webber, assisted by Eckhoff in the 67th minute.

“In the game there was such a balance, with multiple people all scoring,” Murtagh said.

Sophomore goalie Colleen Duffy faced only one shot on goal in the contest, making the save for her first shutout of the season.

A week later the Huskies traveled to Storrs, Conn. to take on No. 7 Penn State. The Huskies fell 5-1 but again got offensive production from Eckhoff, who scored the Huskies’ lone goal. Shean and senior back Natalie Singelais assisted the goal. Eckhoff’s goal came in the fifth minute but the Nittany Lions took control of the game, scoring twice in the first half and three more times in the second half.

“We started out making them do things we wanted them to,” Murtagh said. “We forced them to play to a certain side of the field. There were times we had great passing but we didn’t finish and they did. The game was lopsided but we had good play. If we had to hit a wall this season hopefully that was it.”

The Huskies were out shot by a 19-7 margin forcing, Duffy to make nine saves while Penn State goalie Jen Beaumont made only two saves for the victory.

“Colleen has done a great job for us, even against Penn State,” Murtagh said. “She made great saves but we struggled.”

The story so far has been the breakout play of Eckhoff. Last season she totaled six goals and two assists and already has two goals and an assist this season.

“Sarah is a very good athlete and she has helped us out at different positions,” Murtagh said. “She comes up so much in the stats because she has a very good corner hit and she is putting pressure on opposing defenses.”

However, with the emergence of Eckhoff, last year’s leading scorer Shean has slowed her production. She finished last season with 19 goals and 11 assists for 49 points. This year she has put just two assists on the board.

“This season the scoring isn’t keyed in on Whitney,” Murtagh said. “People know about the goals from last season but she is doing things not on the stats sheet. She is coming back to balls, being a playmaker and playing good defense. Her role has changed this season.”

The Huskies are now ranked No. 18 in the country and look to improve their standing as they take on No. 9 Boston College tonight in Newton at 7 p.m. Northeastern holds a decisive 21-6-1 advantage all-time against the Eagles, who are 2-1 this season, but the Huskies have dropped the last two games against BC.

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