If there is a hidden positive to take away from the College’s abysmal 2-5 stretch in the past seven matches, it would have to be the emergence of sophomore goalkeeper Camilla Hill. Playing all but the second half of the Tribe’s 2-1 win over Radford, the Williamsburg native has made one impressive stop after another, turning away 54 shots over the seven-game stretch. This includes a career game against no. 3 Virginia in which she made 16 stops.
Her toughness was also on full display. In the Northeastern game, a hard shot from a Huskies’ forward deflected directly off of Hill’s knee. Even from my perch behind the dirty glass of the Busch Field press box, I could see that she was clearly grimacing in pain. Yet she stayed in the game, and fought off the ensuing penalty corner.
Despite all of the acrobatics Hill has had to perform between the pipes this year, the lack of defensive discipline has cost the team chances to stay in games. In the College’s last five losses the penalty corner statistic has been heavily in favor of their opponents, 55-21. The statistic goes in favor of the Tribe when they are victorious, as shown by their 35-22 advantage in five wins this season.
Though Head Coach Peel Hawthorne has told me that most of the time this stat can get to be overblown because it is difficult to not cause a penalty in the close confines of the defensive zone, this has been a sure way to derive whether or not the College’s offense will be aggressive enough to score.
The Tribe has netted more than three goals only twice this season — against hapless Appalachian State and Rutgers. Though they have only been shut out once (a 7-0 debacle at the hands of Princeton), the College is averaging just under two goals a game, placing them 7th out of nine teams in the CAA.
After the Northeastern game, I asked Hawthorne about a nifty backhanded shot that sped past Hill for one of the Huskies’ three goals.
“I really haven’t seen someone shoot the ball that hard on our team,” Hawthorne said. “The reason why we aren’t able to do that is because we can’t find enough time to take a strong shot even though we constantly work on it in practice and I encourage all of our players to shoot at any opportunity.”
Especially with the security Hill can provide, the College should not be hesitant in shooting the ball. If the offensive production cannot be picked up, another sub .500 season awaits the Tribe.