Field hockey opens season with win over Rowan

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – It was a face-paced first 35 minutes for the Ursinus College field hockey team.

Right from the get-go on Friday night, the offense was flying around Snell Field, leading to a high-scoring affair with visiting Rowan: one that resulted in a 5-3 win for the Bears in their 2017 opener. Sophomores Katerina DeLuca and Gemma Dufoe each had career nights for Ursinus, which overturned a 3-2 deficit with a late first-half flurry to continue its run of success at Snell Field and bring head coach Janelle Benner to within one win of 100 for her career.

Just three minutes into the contest, senior Brooke Overly tallied her first score of the season (with an assist from DeLuca), putting the Bears up 1-0.

The Profs battled back and were able to find the equalizer just few minutes later, but the scoring continued when DeLuca found the back of the goal on a rebound that left her with nothing between her and the goal line. The sophomore tapped the ball home and gave the Bears a 2-1 lead.

Another goal did not stop Rowan from scoring a pair of markers just minutes apart, putting the Profs ahead by a 3-2 count.

That's when the Ursinus offense turned on the jets. Speedy sophomore Dufoe was able to break loose and score on a rebound close to goal at the 26:39 mark. Less than seven minutes later, Dufoe was sprinting up the middle of the field when a long pass found her stick. The sophomore was able to fight off a Rowan defender and blast a shot past the Profs' keeper. The two-goal performance was the second of Dufoe's career (Sept. 21, 2016 at Bryn Mawr). It was also her first career three-point game.

Her milestone also gave Ursinus a 4-3 lead, one that it wouldn't lose.

DeLuca, who was making her first career start, closed out the first-half scoring with one of the easier goals that she'll have in her career. Overly carried the ball into the circle and was able to shoot a crossing pass to DeLuca, who stood within an arm's reach of the post, allowing her to tap in the score.

Her first start resulted in another first for the Thornton native. Her two goals, combined with an assist on a Dufoe score, culminated in her first career five-point game.

Following halftime, neither team was able to find the back of the net, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. Both squads had their fair share of scoring chances, but both defenses stepped up their play from the first half.

Junior Bridget Sherry was all over the field for the Bears defense, breaking up threat after threat from Rowan. Her stout defense was matched by junior goalie Jules Singer, who stopped 11 of 14 shots. The Profs were able to attempt 13 corners while the Bears only had six.

Singer was peppered with shots all night, even though a large amount of them weren't on goal. The Profs outshot the Bears by a 27-18 mark, but just 14 of their efforts were on goal while 14 of Ursinus' 18 shots were on net.

The victory marks the sixth in a row, and seven of the last eight matchups with Rowan, including last season's opener. It also continues a win streak against Division III opponents at home, moving the total to 17 straight games.

The next matchup for the Bears could be one of the most important in the 2017 season: a home match against top-ranked Messiah on Wednesday at 7 p.m.