Year-Long Hiatus Turned to Double Win Opening Weekend for Field Hockey
By Emma Hladik, Contributing Writer
After a year-long hiatus due to Covid-19, the Gettysburg field hockey team commenced their 2021 season this past weekend at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium with a 2-0 victory against Lebanon Valley College, and, the next day, the team picked up another win, defeating Stevenson University 4-2.
The last time the Bullets played the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen in 2019 they won 2-1. It marked 20 years since the Bullets were able to beat the Dutchmen, and they continued this tradition in their season opener.
In the preseason preview posted on the Gettysburg Athletic Page, head coach Barb Jordan reflected on entering her 20th year of coaching and commented on her new squad this season.
“It has been so much fun to see how excited the players are to be back on the field playing and having fun with one another,” Jordan said. “Some of our upperclassmen have never even played on our new field, so it’s been even more special for them.”
The Bullets showed just how excited they were to be playing again with their enthusiasm both on and off the field during the games on Saturday and Sunday.
The first quarter was fast-moving with Gettysburg bolstering a strong defense that led into their attack on the Dutchmen. The first quarter was scoreless for both teams, but Gettysburg had five shots on goal and many close calls. The Dutchmen had no shots on goal.
Early in the second quarter, the Dutchmen attacked the Bullets’ defense, gaining a penalty corner. Eilene Besselman ’22 saved their shot on goal via the penalty and kept the Dutchmen off the scoreboard. With the Bullets on the attack, Jenna Vadinsky ’23 broke through the defense and scored the first goal of the game, ending the first half with Gettysburg in the lead 1-0.
Gettysburg continued their strong offense after the break with Hailey Rhine ’24 netting her first career goal, strengthening Gettysburg’s lead. The Dutchmen did not have any shots on goal, while the Bullets continued to test the Dutchmen goalkeeper with six shots on goal during the third quarter.
In the final quarter, the Dutchmen continued to struggle offensively with no shots on goal. Meanwhile, the Bullets’ attack stayed hot with five shots on goal along with three penalty corners. The final score against the Lebanon Valley Dutchmen was 2-0, Gettysburg securing their first victory of the season.
Less than 24 hours later, on Sunday, Gettysburg continued their winning streak in their away match against Stevenson University. The Bullets came back in the second half to beat Stevenson 4-2 after not scoring in in the first two quarters.
After an uneventful first quarter, Gettysburg’s forwards attacked Stevenson’s defense early in the second quarter. However, Stevenson’s goalkeeper, Rachel Barker, saved all three shots the Bullets took. Gettysburg’s own goalkeeper Besselman made a nice save on a shot by Stevenson, but an ensuing shot got past her and gave Stevenson the 1-0 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was dominated by Gettysburg. Bullets forwards peppered the net with 11 shots on goal, two of which found the back of the net, Vadinsky scored the first goal and senior Bertrando scored the go-ahead goal off a penalty corner, putting Gettysburg in the lead 2-1.
The Bullets carried their dominant offense from the third into the fourth quarter. Bertrando scored another goal with an assist by Vadinsky. Then it was Henna Fraiman’s ’22 turn; her goal, assisted by Gaby Markunas ’24 put Gettysburg in the lead 4-1. The Mustangs managed to put another goal on the board towards the end of play, but Gettysburg held on to win 4-2 and upped their record to 2-0.
This season, there are 34 players on the field hockey team’s roster. Out of the 34, 21 of them have never played competitively. The Bullets added 15 first-years to the roster.
The team is rounded out by eight returning seniors who look to provide leadership and expertise for the inexperienced majority. Six juniors and five sophomores are returning this season.
“After everything that happened last year with the pandemic and not having played a game in two years, our team was super pumped about being back on the field together on Saturday.” Forward Gaby Markunas ‘24 stated. “When I was here in the fall last year, we only had a few people practicing, so this year was an adjustment and I’m so glad for the whole team to be back at Gettysburg all together.”
Reflecting Markunas’s thoughts, the Bullets coalesced and played well together, communicating as a team as well as cheering each other on during their two weekend wins. Their next game is this Wednesday September 8, where they will face off against Alvernia in Reading, PA. Additionally, they look ahead to their Centennial Conference opener against Bryn Mawr on Friday September 24 at 3:30, kicking off Homecoming Weekend.