Field Hockey Upends VCU


Photo Courtesy of Biliken Athletics

It was a great weekend here in St. Louis. With the Blues winning their season opener against Colorado and the men’s soccer team defeating Dayton, it was only fitting the weekend should end with a SLU victory. VCU came to SportPort International last Sunday afternoon to take on the Billikens field team expecting a win. After a hard-fought defensive battle, the Billikens would prevail and shut out the reigning and defending A-10 champions to win 1-0. Freshman forward Josefina Perez scored the lone goal for the Billikens at the 16:33 mark for her 3rd goal on the year. She was assisted by junior forward, Demi Sahuleka, for her 5th assist of the season. Both Sahuleka (9) and Perez (8) lead the team in total points. 

While Perez and Sahuleka took care of the offensive end, the Billikens truly won the game on the defensive side; senior goalkeeper Sasha Sander recorded 10 saves with 4 coming in the 4th quarter. Sander was awarded A-10 defensive player of the week honors for her strong defensive performance. Providing support for Sander was her defensive front. The defensive backline of Julianne Sacco, Nicole McDowell, Savina Purewal, Parker Guy and Cameron Tucker found themselves in a defensive duel for the majority of the game, especially in the second half. 

Despite being taken out of playoff contention, the Billikens walked into SportPort looking for a win, and surely that is what they found. If not for playoff contention, what does this win mean? While playoffs were out of the question, one of the team’s long-standing goals was to get at least one conference win at home in front of their fans. For the players, coaches, and supporters, this win showed a hopeful future for the SLU field hockey program. Seeing younger players, such as Josefina Perez, Savina Purewal, and Lotte Teunissen starting to take the team to a new direction emphasizes that this program will be in good hands.

Thewin sends a message to the A-10 conference that SLU field hockey is starting to make a turnaround. The silver lining to what has been a less than auspicious season is the heart the Billikens have shown throughout. The great Rocky Balboa once said: “it’s not about how hard you can hit, but how much you can get hit and still keep moving forward.” There is no better quote to accurately describe the current SLU field hockey team. Despite all the challenges, adversities, the long drives to home games, the early mornings, the late nights, and the lack of support, the team never broke down and continued to persevere. To see a team that has had little success come out and take on the defending A-10 champions is a stepping stone to rebuilding the program.

After this win, the Billikens are looking to keep the momentum going as they head to Bloomington to take on Indiana University. Afterwards, they  in celebration of senior day, they return for their final home game of the season against Central Michigan. They will then close out the regular season with one last A-10 matchup at Davidson. 

If you haven’t made it out to a SLU field hockey match, you truly are missing out. The way these young women fight and play for each other is truly a testament to the great character of each and every one of these athletes. No matter what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, these young women always walk out with their heads held high because they know they gave it their all on the field. As the season starts to wind down, there is no doubt that every athlete on SLU’s team will walk away satisfied with their performance. Although the results may not always go in favor of SLU, the upperclassmen can always know they taught the younger women how to be better women and that is better than winning any field hockey game.