This past weekend, on a brisk Baltimore evening, the No. 10 ranked Blue Jays took on the visiting Swarthmore College Garnet in field hockey action.
The Blue Jays came out blistering hot, securing a penalty corner just five minutes into the game.
Junior midfielder Seema Sajjan took the corner and assisted sophomore forward Maddie Brown-Scherer for a goal that zipped past the left post and into the net to give the Jays an early lead.
The offense kept the pressure on the Garnet defense for the remainder of the quarter. With just over four minutes left in the first period, standout sophomore midfielder Abby Birk redirected a slick pass by junior and fellow midfielder Michaela Corvi into the near side of the cage to increase the lead to two.
Four minutes and five seconds later, freshman forward Tessa Erickson backhanded a pass to Birk, who fired in another goal, this time a crafty crossbar shot, with just seconds left on the clock.
Senior Sophie Kim attributed the team’s quick start to the same guiding principles they have followed all year.
“We prepare for every game the same because we take every game one at a time. It is important to treat every game with equal importance, so we always push ourselves to do our best,” she said.
Already up 3-0 after the first period, the Blue Jays may have found it tempting to ease up and coast for the rest of the game. But Kim told a different story.
“We have been talking about working to play with intensity every minute of the game since last year. In addition, our bench is very deep this year, so I think that helped too,” she said. “Having many people ready to go definitely helped keep our energy up throughout the game.”
The Jays most definitely stuck to these principles, as the halftime intermission did little to kill their momentum.
Six minutes into the third quarter, Corvi tallied a goal of her own, compliments of Brown-Scherer, who was able to maneuver a pass over Swarthmore goalie Aaron Lankford and give Corvi a shot at an empty net. She capitalized on the open net and buried her first goal of the season.
To top off the offensive spree, sophomore forward Megan Abate sent a long pass to senior forward Christina Glaser.
Glaser, in a one-on-one situation, put the Swarthmore goalie in a spin cycle and netted in her first goal of the season.
The Jays’ defense deserves a great deal of the credit as well, holding the Garnet to only three shots on target and allowing no penalty corners.
Sophomore goalie Kaitlin Hall came up big when needed, ending the day with two saves to keep a clean sheet for the Jays.
With strong defense and explosive offense, the Blue Jays dominated the Garnet in a score of 5-0.
This meeting between the two teams marks the eighth straight victory for the Jays, improving their overall record to 12-2 and 7-0 in Centennial Conference play on the season.
The loss sends the Garnet down to a record of 4-9 and second to last in the Centennial.
After her two goals in this game, midfielder Abby Birk now sits at 50 career points, already tied for 22nd in the school’s history as a sophomore. The Jays hope to keep this same aggression as they travel to take on the No. 13 ranked Ursinus College Bears.
As the team heads into the home stretch of the season, Kim emphasized the importance of the team’s preparation this week against a ranked conference rival.
“Because we have such a large team and a deep bench, this allows for very competitive practices,” Kim said. “We will work really hard throughout the week and go to Towson on Friday so we can practice on Astro turf because Ursinus has an Astroturf field. Since the turf is so fast, we are really excited to play a quick-paced game.”
The game will tip off at 1 p.m. this Saturday in Collegeville, Pa.