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  • Writer's pictureELLIOT POTOTSKY

Field Hockey rolls through Monks in first round of playoffs

The field hockey team soundly defeated the Saint Joseph’s (Maine) Monks 4-0 in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) playoffs.

The first quarter started with a bang as the Lasers scored just over two minutes into the game. After being granted a corner, the Lasers were stopped initially but never gave up on the play. Senior defender Kait Bedell gathered the rebound and connected with graduate forward Sheridan Blaha for the quick strike.

The only threat made by the visitors during the first quarter was a counter-attack that led to a Monks corner. Fortunately for the Lasers, their stout defense made two stops with just a minute to go, and took their 1-0 lead into the second quarter.

Similar to the beginning of the game, the Lasers’ offense showed out on all cylinders, earning a corner less than two minutes into the quarter. From there, senior forward Lily Stark displayed some great stick skills, settling a high pass from graduate midfielder Abbey Playle who was about ten yards out from the attack circle. Stark then found sophomore midfielder Jacquelyn Scopa who punched in the goal to put her team up by two.

It was just the beginning of what would be a fantastic team effort by the Lasers, as they kept their foot on the gas, pressuring the Monks in their defensive circle and giving them trouble settling the ball and executing passes.

With 9:45 remaining in the half, the Lasers forced a turnover and capitalized on a missed kick save by the Monks’ goalie. Once again, Scopa was there to make the most of the opportunity, ripping a shot from an improbable angle about five yards adjacent to the right post. As the ball was squeezed by the keeper, the fans erupted in cheer.

When asked about her two-goal performance, Scopa credited her teammates for making great passes, moving without the ball, and communicating well.

“I think we’ve really come together throughout the season,” said Scopa. “Everyone has played a huge role.”

Scopa, who came off the bench earlier this season, noted that she is excited to be contributing more this year.

Heading into the second half, the Monks saw their fair share of chances slip through their fingers. Despite several strong offensive pushes, the Lasers were able to make stop after stop in the final two minutes of the third quarter.

In the final quarter, both teams upped their physicality. According to Scopa, Head Coach Jess Paulin has commanded that the Lasers’ physical mentality stays where it is moving forward.

“It’s going to take coach [Paulin’s] favorite words: grit, intensity, and mental toughness,” said Scopa, as she described what it will take to reach the ultimate goal of a GNAC championship.

Stark put the exclamation mark on the dominant win with just under two minutes to go. As she received the ball with her back to the goal, Stark could simultaneously pivot and shoot the ball without a moment's hesitation. Senior midfielder Johanna Snyder was credited with the assist.

Marking their seventh shutout of the season including the regular season, the Lasers will advance to the next round and take on the Colby-Sawyer Chargers in a 6 p.m. home matchup on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

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