In their final game of the regular season, the women’s club hockey team lost a home contest to St. Joseph’s University by a score of 8-0. While the team finished the season in fifth place, a ranking just shy of a playoff berth, the University of Virginia, who was initially slated for one of the top four slots, is unable to compete in the postseason. This will allow Lafayette to secure the fourth seed where they will face off in a rematch against top-ranked St. Joe’s.
While the final score was lopsided, the game was not initially a blowout. It was not until the end of the opening period that St. Joseph’s broke the scoreless tie.
“We definitely held them up, we made some changes to try and get a bit more offensively aggressive,” senior captain and defender Amanda Grisanti said. “We’re defensively strong but we have trouble scoring. All of the girls looked at each other and were laughing because we’re out of shape and barely able to walk around campus post-game.”
In the second and third periods, St. Joe’s tacked on seven more goals in what ended up being a dominant win for them.
“The [first] goal was kind of a fluky goal in the way it rebounded off me and they were lucky to be there where it rebounded,” sophomore goalie Maria Giambruno-Fuge said. “We were playing really well and then they scored and it got in our heads. We had trouble getting an offensive attack.”
Despite the rough day on defense, the team was able to keep up their spirits throughout the game, according to a few players.
“Everyone had a really good attitude throughout the game,” junior defender Elise Bossert said. “That helped keep everyone’s spirits up. Even though we were losing, everyone was there to have fun. We have a great group dynamic.”
The team spent most of the game on defense, and Bossert said the team struggled to clear the puck out of the defensive zone because their passes were often intercepted. Grisanti said she was glad they held St. Joseph’s to less than 10 goals.
“The communication between the defenders is really good,” Giambruno-Fuge said. “I think I could communicate with them more and that could solve some of our problems.”
Grisanti said Giambruno-Fuge was “absolutely incredible” holding St. Joseph’s to eight goals.
“[My teammates] definitely got inspiration from [my saves],” Giambruno-Fuge said. “They were really supportive. Obviously it’s hard to stay positive no matter how well you’re playing if you get scored on a lot, but they were good at keeping everyone positive.”
Tomorrow, the team will face St. Joseph’s in the first round of the Division-III DVCHC playoffs.
“Our focus is hopefully coming up with plays we can do for next game offensively,” Grisanti said. “There’s only so much we can do defensively, but if we strengthen our forwards, we won’t get shut out next time.”
Bossert said another point the team hopes to improve on is positioning in front of the goal, and being able to defend the other team while also not blocking Giambruno-Fuge’s view of the puck.
With a recent game against St. Joseph’s and another practice before the game, the players anticipate a better performance.
“I’m pretty confident,” Giambruno-Fuge said. “I don’t think that game last weekend was how we usually play. A lot of us couldn’t make practice last week, so it was our first time on the ice. I think the next game will go a lot better. We had practice last weekend and [Wednesday], doing team-building exercises and stuff like that.”
“My hope is we’re back in the groove of things, and we can take what we know and effectively bring it to the ice,” Grisanti added.