Where were you at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 20th? If you answered anything besides “at the Olsen Athletic Fields for EU Field Hockey,” you are stupid. Luckily for you, the Jonny and Nathan time machine has arrived. So climb aboard and get ready to relive history.
Today’s game is indeed a big one, because it’s senior day and EU is going up against conference challenger, Farleigh Dickinson. The Knights enter the game with only one conference loss, so the Eagles definitely have their work cut out for them. Shannon Graybill, Kelby Bolton, and Brittany Moyer – the team’s seniors, get a nice introduction before the game, and then it is time for business.
The game has barely begun, and the sparse, yet devoted, crowd is already cheering. Nathan offers expert analysis of what has just happened. “They literally just ran down the field and scored.” It turns out that the “they” in this case is Junior Jess Jaindl. Jeah!
What especially impresses Nathan and I in the first half is the tenacity of Eastern’s goalie, Kylie Jones. Despite the big green dinosaur legs that she has to wear, she dives all over the place to save goals. The sad news is that so far, the team’s cheering is about three times as loud as the fans’. Blame it on most people being gone for fall free days.
Nathan and I are finally starting to get the concept of the corner play in field hockey. Basically, half of the defensive team has to do a suicide run to the half-field line and back, while the rest of the team cowers in the goal box with the goalkeeper. They usually pound on the goal with their sticks, which is probably meant to inspire fear in their opponents. I was frightened. The offense then passes the ball in to players who are positioned in an arc around the goal, and all heck breaks loose.
With the first half nearly in the books, we have another realization. The field hockey teams are wearing skirts! We decide that this wardrobe rule is probably the reason why there is no men’s field hockey.
The second half begins with the teams knotted in a 2-2 tie. There is now a knowledgeable couple sitting next to us on the hill. They are the Virgil to our Dante, as far as field hockey rules are concerned. That was a reference for all you literary snobs out there.
Full disclosure – Nathan and I came into this game as skeptics. But by the end of the game, we were yelling and high fiving like pros. Field Hockey can absolutely produce beautiful moments. One of these moments was the tie-breaking goal by Jess Jaindl early in the second half.
Off of a corner, Jess timed a perfect strike in the midst of a chaotic scramble in the goal box , hitting the ball out of the air and past the helpless FDU goalie. Controlling balls in mid-air is the most impressive part of Field Hockey in my mind.
With that, the route is on. Brittany Moyer dices up the defense with ease. Jaindl nets another goal for a hat-trick. Kaycie Andrew and Kinsey Lewis beat every single FDU defender on their own before deferring to Moyer for an easy goal.
With the game in the bag at 6-2 and the clock winding down, things nearly take a tragic turn, as an errant clear by the FDU goalie whizzes off the field and almost decapitates EU Athletic Director Brad Fields. Fields ducks and comes away with his life, and the EU women come away with a dominant victory.