RICHMOND, Ind. – For Earlham College field hockey, the pathway to a victory on game day is now pretty apparent.
A balanced offensive attack. Solid defense. The occasional stand-on-your-head save in the cage.
The Quakers got all three in large doses on Saturday at Darrell Beane Stadium, resulting in a 4-1 victory over North Coast Athletic Conference rival Wittenberg University.
Four different Earlham players scored goals to help the Quakers improve to 6-7 overall, 2-6 in the NCAC. With six games remaining on the 2018 slate, Earlham has already matched its win total from a year ago. The win over Wittenberg was just the fifth over the Tigers in 66 meetings dating back to 1979, and the first since the 1992 campaign.
With three assists on those four goals, the 11-point afternoon also gives Earlham field hockey 77 points this season - the most points in a single season since amassing 92 points (38 goals, 16 assists) in 1992.
Oh – and the win was the 200th in program history.
"I'm so proud of them," said Earlham head coach Emily Girasole. "I think today we came out with intensity, eagerness, and played together. We had great communication and leadership on the field, which allowed us to play EC field hockey - which to us is doing the fundamentals and basic skills really well today, which allowed us to execute and be successful."
First year Denise Bergdolt got the Quakers on the board first, scoring on a blast from just inside the scoring circle into the far corner of the cage with 25:59 left in the opening half.
That was all the scoring either team would muster in the first half, with Earlham goalie Margaret Murphy making several clutch saves in the waning minutes of the frame – including a pair of charge-out-of-the-cage stops in the final four minutes of the half – to send the Quakers into the intermission with the lead.
Sophomore Sofia Salvatore doubled the Earlham lead to 2-0 barely 10 minutes into the second half, picking up a loose ball sent into the circle by Molly McKellar and burying a shot into the lower-left corner of the cage with 24:19 remaining.
Wittenberg ended Earlham's shutout bid with 20:45 to play in the game on Blaine Donnelly's unassisted score. A busted penalty corner play eventually produced a loose ball right by the post to the right of Quaker goalie Murphy, and, after a pair of jabs at the ball and Murphy rolling on the ground to make the stop, the nearest official blew play dead and ruled the ball had crossed the line for a goal.
Earlham answered just over two minutes later, thanks to a Wittenberg turnover in its own end of the field. Olivia Layne forced the turnover and sent a pass forward into the circle, where Isabelle Bishop drove a shot into the back of the cage with 18:11 showing on the game clock to put the Quakers in front, 3-1.
Senior Maite Turlings put the punctuation mark on the afternoon with 13:34 remaining, when she finished a give-and-go play off a penalty corner to extend the Earlham lead to 4-1.
Earlham narrowly outshot Wittenberg, 17-13, and the Tigers earned 10 penalty corners to the Quakers' eight. Murphy charted eight saves in the Earlham goal, while Witt goalie Allie Purvis recorded five stops.
Earlham continues its three-game home stand on Wednesday, Oct. 10, when it hosts Ohio Wesleyan at 5:00 p.m. at Darrell Beane Stadium.
For more information about Earlham field hockey, visit the online home of Earlham College athletics at www.GoEarlham.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Earlham athletics news by following Earlham Quakers on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter (@EarlhamQuakers), and Instagram (EarlhamQuakers).