The Missouri State field hockey team is winless no more, as the Bears (1-3) defeated the Saint Louis Billikens by a score of 4-2 on Friday in St. Louis, Mo.
“We finally made the transition from practice to the game,” head coach Gabby Gomez Sosa said. “We moved the ball well and executed our possession game well which gave us more scoring chances.”
A pair of freshmen led the Missouri State charge, as midfielder/forward Olivia Nicotera scored the first two goals of her college career while midfielder Sydney Richelieu added another. Junior midfielder Laura Tavares chipped in a goal of her own to cap the MSU scoring.
The Bears jumped out of the gates quickly when Richelieu scored unassisted at the 3:39 mark of the first half. The score remained 1-0 until the 23rd minute when Nicotera found the back of the cage off an assist from Richelieu. About four minutes later, junior forward Hillary Lawless delivered a nice pass to Tavares, whose goal made the score 3-0 at halftime.
But Missouri State didn’t stop there, as the Bears came out firing again in the second half. Nicotera scored her second goal of the day in the third minute of the stanza. Freshman defender Leah Reitmayer assisted Nicotera on the point.
The Billikens broke the shutout at the 40:03 mark when Tori Lycett got a shot past Missouri State goalkeeper Andrea Bain, who recorded six saves in eight attempts. SLU’s Corinne Murphy scored five minutes later, which brought the final margin to 4-2.
However, the Bears played smart defense, assistant coach Erika Dombkowski said, noting that the Bears denied the Billikens breakaway opportunities. The aggressiveness of seniors Reiann Stoute and Chelsey Medlock were key to that defensive success, she said.
Missouri State out-shot Saint Louis by a 14-to-12 margin and matched SLU’s eight shots on goal.
The Bears will take the win and try to get even better, Dombkowski said.
“We still have a lot to work on,” she said. “We still gave up two goals, but are going to bring this into our next game.”
The Bears will remain in St. Louis to play Georgetown on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m.