Fitchburg State's Fast Start Dooms Field Hockey

MacKenzie Brandes

WORCESTER – Visiting Fitchburg State netted a goal early in each half as the Falcons knocked off WPI 2-1 in a non-conference field hockey match-up on Tuesday evening.  With the win Fitchburg State ups its record to 13-4 on the season while the Engineers slip to 6-10 overall. 

The Falcons wasted no time denting the scoring column, stealing the opening possession and getting the ball to sophomore Molly Richard (Leominster, MA), who dribbled unimpeded into the circle and blasting her team-leading 17th goal in the bottom right corner just 38 seconds into the game.  The rest of the half settled into a defensive struggle, with WPI mustering three straight shots, two by Carly Cidado (Easton, MA) in a 1:33 span before FSU nearly converted a WPI turnover into a goal with three consecutive shots, two from Olivia Grant (Portsmouth, NH) in a 21-second span by WPI goalkeeper Karen Noble (Mariaville, ME), who stopped all three attempts. 

Fitchburg State came out strong again in the second half and were rewarded with a goal 5:26 into the second stanza.  Richard had her stick in the second goal as well, sending a nifty pass from 20 yards out to the waiting stick of Casey Noonan (Feeding Hills, MA), who knocked home a shot into the bottom left for her fifth marker of the season.  

WPI sliced the deficit in half just over six minutes later following a penalty corner as Cidado drilled a pass from Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT) into the left side of the cage for the fourth goal of her rookie campaign.  From there the Falcon defense stiffened, not allowing a shot over the final 23:08 of the game. 

Jordyn Conway (Feeding Hills, MA) recorded two stops for the Falcons en route to her second win of the season while Noble made five saves for the Crimson and Gray.  Fitchburg State held a 8-5 edge in shots while WPI attempted four of the game's five penalty corners. 

WPI closes out the regular season on Saturday with a 1pm game at Springfield.  The Engineers can force a three-way tie for the sixth and final NEWMAC Tournament spot with a win over the Pride and a Mount Holyoke victory against Wheaton that same day.  Fitchburg State, which hosts Plymouth State this Saturday night in a Little East Conference quarterfinal, heads to Roger Williams for a non-conference tilt on Thursday at 4pm.