FH: Wilkes drops to 2-2 after controversial loss against Widener


Kirsten Peters

Sophomore defender/midfielder Lauren Shiplett attempted three shots and one shot on goal in Wilkes’ disappointing 2-1 loss to Widener.

Kevin Singhel, Asst. Sports Editor

EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. — On Saturday evening, Wilkes’ field hockey team attempted to secure two wins in a row and improve to 3-1 on the year with a home contest against the Widener Pride.

The Colonels were coming off a 4-1 victory against the Keystone College Giants on Wednesday. However, beating non-conference foe Widener was going to be a tall task. Widener was sitting at 2-0, and had just previously completed an 8-0 thrashing of Drew University.

The game was marred by penalties and questionable calls, something that proved to be a major theme throughout the entire game. In fact, the first green card was issued just four minutes into the game. 

Each team had their fair share of opportunities in the first quarter, but neither side was able to convert these opportunities into points on the board. The first quarter ended in a stalemate, as Wilkes and Widener finished 0-0. Freshman goalkeeper Vanessa Damgaard had an exceptional game in the net, racking up five saves throughout the contest. 

The Colonels were the first team on the board, as a shot from junior forward Ali Dunn found the back of the net with 8:18 remaining in the second quarter. The shot came off of an impressive feed from freshman forward Morghan Murphy, giving Murphy her first career assist. 

However, the Colonels’ lead would be short-lived, as Widener was able to find an equalizer later in the quarter. The Pride’s Gianna Perna was able to find the back of the net after a scramble for a loose ball, tying the game before the end of the half. 

The Pride ramped up the aggression in the third quarter, creating several offensive opportunities. However, the Colonel defense stood strong, frequently repelling Widener’s offensive bursts. Widener had several shots and penalty corners, but the Wilkes defense remained impenetrable in the face of the pressure. It was a perfect example of a defense bending but not breaking, as Wilkes succeeded in keeping Widener out of the net. 

Damgaard credited the stout defense to Wilkes’ ability to communicate.

“The communication was there,” said Damgaard. “We didn’t fall apart and we were still together the entire time.” 

The defense continued their unbreakable nature, and held the Pride scoreless for another quarter. 

Unfortunately, the Colonels stout defense finally broke in the middle of the fourth quarter when the Pride scored the go-ahead goal. Jackie Daniels dribbled through several Wilkes defenders and then weaved a beautiful shot toward the top-right corner of the goal. The shot gave the Pride a 2-1 lead late in the game, and things looked bleak for the Colonels. 

It was a heartbreaking goal for the Colonels, but they gave a resilient response. Wilkes even almost tied the game in the final minute, but Widener’s defense was able to keep the Colonels out of the net. 

There were several close and questionable calls made on the field, something that clearly had an effect on the game. In total, four green cards were issued while three yellow cards were given out.

Despite this, Damgaard noted, “We didn’t let the calls get to our heads.” She stressed the importance of shaking off the calls and getting the ball back. 

Head coach Erin Moran iterated similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of mental toughness. 

“Things like this are going to happen,” said Moran. “It’s a mental game so we need to continue to get back in and focus on what our game plan is and get back to that.”

With the loss, Wilkes fell back to .500 on the season, as they now sit at 2-2 while Widener improves to a perfect 3-0. 

Despite the tough loss, the team remains optimistic about its future prospects. 

Coach Moran stated, “I think the team is improving everyday. Even though this is a tough loss, they’ve learned a lot from it. Moving forward, they’re going to be excited to see the next opponent and get some redemption.” 

Wilkes has the opportunity for redemption on Sept. 12 when they travel to Cedar Crest College for their next contest.