Perfect: That is the word that can describe the Eastern field hockey team these past few weeks.
Eastern has not fallen since an Oct. 3 loss to #8 Rowan University. By winning seven straight games since then, the team has earned the third spot in the South Atlantic Region rankings this past week.
This marks the first time in program history that the team has reached regional rankings before the conclusion of the season. The team is undefeated in MAC play, winning all six of their conference games, and 14-4 overall.
“To be chosen third was thrilling,” Head Coach Camrin Azzarano said. “It is a huge honor. It motivates us even more to prove our ranking is right.”
Since the Rowan loss, the Eastern defense has only allowed five goals. Senior goalie Laura Ressler has anchored the defense between the pipes, recording five shutouts this year, three of them coming in the past two weeks.
“The girls are very committed,” Azzarano said. “We are working very hard as a team. When the girls go out there they get the job done, and it doesn’t matter who.”
As a team, Eastern has looked better than ever lately. The offense has recorded three or more goals five times in the past month.
Eastern started September with three losses, looking flustered at times, but lately it’s opponents who are getting flustered by the team’s scoring-frenzy offensive unit and shutout defense.
“We greatly understand what we did wrong in those losses,” Azzarano said. “We still feel the pain from those losses. “
Now the team is teaching a lesson to its opponents: Don’t take the Lady Eagles lightly.
“Even with our recent success, I think the girls are quite humble,” Azzarano said.
The next step for the team would be to crack into the national coaches poll, but the team is trying to not look too far into the future.
“This is a tough time of the year for us to come out every day with the same desire and discipline,” Azzarano said. “You have to take every game as it comes to you. You cannot look long term. We have to take one game at a time.”
The team will look to do just that as it attempts to win a second consecutive MAC Freedom conference championship title. Playoffs begin on Nov. 4, with the championship match taking place Nov. 7.
The volleyball team is also ranked third in the Mid-Atlantic Region and 23rd nationally after taking #1 Wisconsin-Oskkosh to five games on Oct. 16.