COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Gemma Dufoe scored a pair of goals and the defense did the rest as the No. 19 Ursinus College field hockey team notched a statement win on Wednesday night, edging perennial powerhouse Messiah, 2-1, in a tightly contested battle on Snell Field.
The 4th-ranked Falcons, NCAA champions in 2016, jumped out to an early edge when Mackenzie Brubaker powered in a shot from the top of the circle following a corner in just the 4th minute of play.
Undaunted, the Bears (1-1) answered just five minutes later as Dufoe snuck down the middle of the circle, took a pass from Gabriela Howell, and beat the Messiah keeper from in front to make it a 1-1 affair. The play started when Laura Rothschild stepped in front of a Falcons pass and sent a long one of her own up the right side for Madison Handwerger, who fed off to Howell for the eventual assist.
Ursinus caught a huge break in the final minute of the first half, when a Messiah player inadvertently blocked a shot from a teammate that was headed straight into an empty cage.
The Bears took advantage right after the break. Following a couple of blocked shots, Jamie Mayer threaded another perfect pass to Dufoe, who gave the hosts the lead for good with a well-placed shot to the lower left corner of the cage.
Addie Frey staved off three shots during a brief Messiah barrage a few minutes later, but the Bears' back line was terrific in holding down a Falcons attack that put up five goals against Christopher Newport. Messiah had one more decent scoring chance with about 8:30 to play, but Taylor Wiederrecht's shot from the center of the circle was turned away by Frey once more with a nice kick save.
Frey, the reigning PhilaFH Defensive Player of the Week, posted all four of her saves in the second half to keep the Bears in front.
Ursinus outshot Messiah, 11-10, and owned a 6-2 advantage in penalty corners.
The Bears hit the road for the first time on Saturday, when they take on William Smith in non-conference action.