National pride carried Bermuda to their second straight victory without conceding a goal yesterday, as they defeated the University of Rochester 3-0 at the National Sports Centre.
Goals from Chrysda Smith, Alex Francis and Asha Trott gave the home side the win against the New York state-based Yellowjackets just three days after they defeated Susquehanna University, another NCAA Divison III side, 1-0, with Georgia Harris scoring the winner on Tuesday night.
If anything, Rochester looked better than Susquehanna, yet Bermuda ground down yesterday’s opponents.
The home side weathered some early pressure and were well on the front foot come the final whistle.
Wide midfielder Selina Whitter was a constant threat for the home side and she explained how her team-mates were motivated by playing for the island.
“[Rochester] had a lot of skill, but we just had to pick up our pace and show them we’re playing for Bermuda,” Whitter said.
Bermuda had the first chance of the game when Azhari Thomas’ shot was well saved by Rochester goalkeeper Gabrielle Cantley after two minutes, but Bermuda’s Renee Greenslade had to clear off the line ten minutes later as the Yellowjackets impressed, with Maya Haigis running the show in midfield early on for the Americans.
However, Bermuda came to the forefront in the second half of the second quarter and Jasmine Patterson shot just wide after Maya Palacio made a surging run into the shooting circle.
The home side went ahead in the last minute of the first half when Smith put the ball away after great work from Thomas down the right.
Bermuda doubled their lead in the third quarter when Whitter’s long pass into the circle from the right was swept home by Francis.
“[I have to make] sure my forwards get time to shoot,” Whitter said “If they can’t get the ball they can’t shoot.”
Whitter has just returned from a coaching clinic in Barcelona, and the results are already paying off for Bermuda.
“It was a totally different level of hockey, a much higher level, with more intensity, including one-on-one training with mostly Dutch coaches,” she said. “I got sponsorship. The Bermuda Hockey Federation picked me to go and I went there for eight days.
“[I learnt] patience in myself to stay calm, do what I’ve made up in my head correctly and read the play. But definitely my hits too! I broke my stick while I was out there, so my hits have definitely got harder!”
It was 3-0 early in the fourth quarter when Trott’s effort was deflected into the net by Cantley.
There was still time for Bermuda to go close one last time, but Patterson’s effort hit Cantley’s left-hand post with two minutes left.
Bermuda take on Worcester Polytechnic Institute tomorrow and on Tuesday, and face Rochester again on Monday. Their toughest test comes when they face Division II Shippensburg next Saturday. All games start at 6pm at the National Sports Centre.