By Brian Klose
Elm Staff Writer
The Centennial Conference Field Hockey Tournament had selected its first four schools to compete for the championship, and one spot remained for a wild card team. Washington College’s Shorewomen had been in contention for the entirety of the regular season, but their fate as playoff contenders came down to their final two matchups. After suffering consecutive losses against nationally ranked Ursinus and Franklin & Marshall, the pressure was high and present. One more loss and Washington College would be eliminated from playoff contention.
“Losing two in a row is just an eye opener to what our goals are,” said junior defender Jordan Mitchell. “We just take the losses learned from them and prepare for the next two games ahead. These next two games are important. We have been preparing for months and we will just look at these two games as if they are any other.”
For the second time in three years, Washington College has clinched a birth into the Centennial Conference Tournament with wins over conference rivals Haverford and McDaniel. The wins placed WC at the fifth seed in the tournament and improved their record to 13-4 overall and 6-4 in the conference.
“The amount of effort we put in as a team and the amount of focus we have helps us be successful,” said sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Davis. “The teams we have lost to were both ranked in the top 10 in the country. As a team that is not ranked it shows that we can hang with them with determination and effort of the ranked teams.”
The Shorewomen’s playoff push began in Haverford, Pa. against the Haverford Fords. Sophomore midfielder Alli Dudley had the game’s only score early in the second half. But the goal was enough to cement the victory for WC with a final score of 1-0. The win eliminated the Fords from playoff contention and dropped their record to 7-9.
While the matchup was statistically even, the victory gave the Shorewomen the instant momentum they needed to continue their push for a conference playoff spot going into their do-or-die matchup with McDaniel.
“I know that when there is a corner every player has a role and mine is to get the ball in the cage. Everyone contributes to get the ball there and I can not score without the rest of my team. So the confidence level is not with me as an individual but as a team,” Davis said.
The regular season for WC came to a close at home against McDaniel, the first game for the Shorewomen to be held in the newly renovated Kibler Field. The game was another low-scoring, defensive showcase, with the lone goal scored in the first half by senior attack Jackie O’Connell. Sophomore attacker Jenn Miller, who saved the ball from going out of bounds and sent it to O’Connell, was credited with the assist.
Senior defender Emily Bodmer made a game-saving defensive save in the final seconds of the second half to secure the 1-0 victory over the Green Terror. McDaniel would have secured the final playoff spot if they had defeated Washington College. The Green Terror and Dickinson would both finish a game back of the Shorewomen.
The Shorewomen, riding on a two game winning streak, will face fourth-place Johns Hopkins in the only matchup in the first round of the Centennial Conference Tournament. The Blue Jays previously defeated the Shorewomen in a 1-0 double overtime game where WC outshot the Blue Jays 19-11 and dominated for much of the match.
Awaiting the winner of the Shorewomen-Blue Jays matchup will be No.6 in the country Ursinus, who previously beat the Shorewomen 3-2 just over a week ago.
“We need wins if we want to continue our season,” Davis said. “It’s as simple as that.”