A new formation yielded the same result for the Tribe (2-5), as the squad fell to Vermont (3-3) by a 4-2 margin Friday at Busch Field.
The Tribe spent the past week implementing a new 5-2-3 formation, but critical defensive errors cost the College another game.
“We keep making the same kind of mistakes even though we know it we’ve identified it and we’re trying to fix it,” Head Coach Peel Hawthorne ’80 said. “It’s still a little Achilles heel for us. We’ve tried lots of different combinations to get it fixed.”
The aggressive offense started strongly by quickly attacking the Vermont defense. Four minutes into the game, senior forward Rebecca Wagner knocking the ball past Vermont goalkeeper Brooke Crane, giving the Tribe an early 1-0 advantage.
The Tribe continued attacking aggressively throughout the game, putting up 18 shots on goal, but they weren’t the quality shots that can be expected to produce points.
Wagner also stressed the lack of second-chance offense and an overall problem with finishing drives.
“We just don’t have people filling in off the initial shot on the rebound and those are the kinds of goals we need to finish,” Wagner said.
The defense, meanwhile, was haunted by positioning mistakes made in front of the goal. Vermont’s first goal of the game came off a crossing pass in which goalkeeper Camilla Hill dove, leaving the cage exposed for an easy put-in.
“It wasn’t until the last five yards when people just panic and jump to the ball,” Hawthorne said. “When they get in that last little bit of the red zone—that’s when they lose their heads.”
After the Catamounts strung together four consecutive goals in the middle of the match, the Tribe fell into a press defense in a desperate attempt to generate offense.
In the 69th minute, sophomore defender Maria Caro slapped a hard shot off a penalty corner that went untouched into the back of the cage. Wagner and senior Erica Eng were credited with the assist.
Despite the loss, the Tribe is optimistic that the new formation will help open passing lanes and liven up a lagging offense in future matches.
“We went with a new formation which we think will suit us better and I do think that it will suit us better in spite of tonight’s outcome,” Hawthorne said.