NEWBERRY — The Newberry College field hockey team played its inaugural match Sept. 5, falling to the Limestone Saints in front of an NCAA Division II record-breaking crowd.
Newberry (0-1) had a strong offensive performance throughout the night, but could not capitalize, as Limestone (1-0) won 7-1.
The Wolves’ first-ever contest caught the attention of the Newberry student body and community population, setting a new Division II regular season attendance record with 665 fans, breaking the previous record by 32.
“Having the crowd support tonight really put our girls in the right frame of mind for the game,” head coach Catherine Somits said. “It was a very humbling experience having the whole school behind us.”
The scarlet and gray fell behind early, but Karissa Dodson cut the lead to 2-1 at the 14:16 mark off of a penalty corner, setting off celebration in the stands as the record crowd witnessed the program’s first-ever goal.
Alisha Locklear and Anna Kate Smith were credited with the assists.
Limestone showed prowess in the counterattack, as most of the Saints’ goals came in transition offensive opportunities as the more experienced team pulled away later in the first half.
The Wolves calmed down in the second half, allowing only two goals and controlling the ball on the offensive end of the pitch, earning nine penalty corners.
The difference in the game came down to converting offensive opportunities. Limestone only outshot Newberry by a 15-12 margin, with Wolves’ goalkeeper Morgan Downey recording five saves.
Limestone goal scorers were Jill Funkhouser (2), Rachel Goromonzi (2), Kelsey Barr, Nicolle Grant and Casey Werkheiser.
Newberry notched 13 penalty corners to the Saints’ two, converting the goal on one of those chances.
Freshman Courtlyn Warren opened her collegiate scoring account, while fellow freshman Morgan Downey notched 13 saves as the Wolves fell 18-1 to the No. 6 Indiana, Pa., Crimson Hawks at Setzler Field on Saturday.
The Wolves (0-2) saw the Crimson Hawks (1-0) jump out to an early lead on the afternoon. In goal Downey made nine first half saves, and was aided between the posts by freshman Talya Stocksdale who recorded the first defensive save in the programs history.
The young Wolves squad continued to battle the Crimson Hawks, and saw their efforts rewarded in the second period. A Crimson Hawks foul set-up a Newberry free hit, which put the Wolves on the attack.
The attack resulted in a hard pass through the circle that skipped off the leg guards of IUP goalie Alyssa Lerda. The ball rebounded out to the stick of Warren who powered her shot by Lerda and into the back of the cage. Warren’s goal was the first of her career.
Warren and freshman Kaitlyn Willard each placed a shot on frame, while Stocksdale found herself in the box score after her defensive efforts took a goal away from the Crimson Hawks.
Downey stopped 13 shots between the posts, raising her season total to 18 saves.
After opening the season with a record setting crowd on Thursday and playing a top ten team for the first time in program history on Saturday, the Wolves find themselves with a two-week break before returning to action. The
Wolves hit the road on Sept. 22 for a road trip to Virginia Wesleyan at 1 p.m. The trip marks the first match away from Setzler Field for the Wolves.