SMITHFIELD, R.I. – With exactly nine games remaining in the regular season, the Bryant University field hockey team begins the second half of the 2011 campaign on Saturday, Oct. 1, welcoming Atlantic-10 foe La Salle University to the Bryant Track and Turf Complex. Game time is set for 11 a.m.
With an impressive 3-1 record at home in their first four games, the Bulldogs (4-5) will be hoping to continue that success against the Explorers (3-6), a team that they have fallen to in each of the previous two seasons. Last year, Bryant was downed 6-2 in Philadelphia, while La Salle earned a slim 2-1 victory in Smithfield during the 2009 season.
Both teams have battled twice since the 2009 season, with the last meeting coming in Philadelphia on Oct. 2, 2010. After Bryant opened the scoring at 4:49 to take an early lead, the Explorers tacked on five straight goals before current senior tri-captain Emily Charpentier (Walpole, Mass.) brought the Bulldogs to within three with an unassisted tally in the 59th minute. But La Salle added another insurance strike with just under three minutes to play, taking a 6-2 victory.
During their last outing, the Bulldogs met up with Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., for a Sunday afternoon battle on Sept. 25, with the Crimson coming away with a close 2-1 victory over Bryant. Senior Courtney Landi (Kingston, N.Y.) deflected her first goal of the season into the back of the cage during a penalty corner at 41:19, but Harvard answered with back-to-back goals about three minutes apart soon after that. Both teams accounted for the entire game's scoring in just over a five-minute span, with the Crimson's goals coming in the 44th and 47th minute. After that scoring spurt, both teams bunkered down defensively, and despite some late chances, the Bulldogs were kept off the board the rest of the way.
La Salle has seen three of its last four games go into overtime, and have dropped each of those contests, including a 1-0 double-overtime defeat during its last match against the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The Explorers held the advantage in shots and corners but couldn't find the back of the cage in that game, as freshman netminder Lisa Shaffer made eight saves against the Quakers to up her season total to 73. She remains in the top 10 nationally in total saves and save percentage. On the offensive end, rookie Maddy Tettelbach has paced the team with 11 points (5g, 1a), while sophomore Olivia Shoemaker has added four goals to the team's total.
The Bulldogs continue to be led on the offensive end by rookie Rosie Bird (Hamilton, New Zealand), who has put together an outstanding 9-1-19 scoring line through the team's first nine games. She was most recently tabbed the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week on Sept. 26, and leads the conference in goals scored and goals per game.
Up next, the Bulldogs travel to Worcester, Mass., on Tuesday, Oct. 4 for their final non-conference game of the season, taking on Holy Cross under the lights at 7 p.m. The Black and Gold return home to begin conference play against Monmouth on Friday, Oct. 7 for an evening match slated for 7 p.m.
For continuing coverage of Bryant University field hockey, check back at www.bryantbulldogs.com, and be sure to follow the Bulldogs on Twitter @BryantAthletics and get live scoring updates @BryantGameday.