By Heather Kuch
The Ohio Wesleyan women’s lacrosse team suffered a tough loss to Centre College in their season opener on Sunday at Selby Stadium.
The Centre Colonels defeated the Bishops with a score of 17-14.
Senior midfielder Meredith Wholley said the team did not know what to expect going into the match, but planned to play the best game they could against the non-conference team.
Sophomore defender Eilee Foley said the team was excited to use what they had worked on in preseason going into Sunday’s match.
“We were looking to see how we come out on the field, and to see how well we ‘jell’ together,” Foley said. “We have only been playing against ourselves the past month, so it is great to see what we look like against another opponent.”
Senior defender Molly Curry said the team felt prepared going into the match but knew it would be a challenge, and they would need to “be focused and have confidence.”
The Battling Bishops and the Colonels rallied back and forth in the beginning of the first half resulting in a 4-4 tie between the two teams. Senior attacker Annie Swanson, freshman attacker Patricia Ryan and junior midfielders Cate Bailey and Theresa Wolfgang scored first four goals for the Bishops.
The tie was soon broken as the Colonels then went on a 7-3 run for the remainder of the half putting them ahead 11-7.
The Bishops tried to rebound from the deficit in the second half with another goal from Bailey to bring the score to 11-8. However, Centre continued to outscore the Bishops, adding two more goals and increasing their lead by five with a little over 20 minutes remaining in the half.
The Bishops put up one last fight as Ryan and freshman attacker Meg Doherty each scored once and Wholley scored twice to bring the score to 13-12 with 11 minutes remaining in the half.
The Colonels were able to secure the win just a minute later as they scored two back-to-back goals to extend their lead to 15-12. Centre went on to score two more times in the remaining 10 minutes in the match. The Bishops were able to add two more goals but could not catch up to the Colonels.
Wholley, Swanson, Bailey and Ryan led the Bishop offense with three goals each, while sophomore Daylin Stevens led the defense with 10 saves in the goal.
Wholley said she expects the team to do well this season and hopes they will make it far into the post-season competition.
“I know the team is hungry for a great season, and we will work hard to get there,” Wholley said. “We have a lot of great talent on the team this year, and we hope to find a team cohesion that will bring us a winning season and to the NCAC conference tournament.”
Foley agreed with Wholley and said the team has worked hard in preparation for this season.
“This year for Ohio Wesleyan women’s lacrosse we are looking to go very far this year into our conference,” Foley said. “Last year was a big transition year for us, and we are looking to improve from it. The girls have been working very hard on and off the field. Coming out of our preseason, we look great. Our coach has worked us very hard to prepare us for the future.”
Curry said she expects the team to be successful this year because every member of the team has something to contribute.
“With several new players this year, I think our team is going to be stronger than ever,” Curry said. “I have a lot of confidence in my teammates this year and I am looking forward to a successful season. Our team goal is to not only make it to the NCAC playoffs but to finish first and move further in the tournament. There is so much talent on this team and I can’t wait to see where it will take us this season.”
Foley said the team has a new mindset this season that she thinks will help them to be successful.
“A goal we have going into this season is to play for ourselves, play for our seniors, and play for each other; we are a unit and we want to play like one,” Foley said. “Like I said, we have worked so hard to not make progress. This team is definitely going to be a dark horse in our conference.”
The next home match for the Bishops is Wednesday, March. 6 at 5 p.m. at Selby Stadium against the Otterbein College Cardinals.