Two days after a humbling 8-0 defeat to reigning Northeast Conference champion Rider, Siena field hockey showed it could compete with the conference's best teams. Unfortunately, the most goals scored by the Saints in two years wasn't enough on Sunday, as the Green and Gold fell 5-4 to Monmouth despite the second hat trick in the program's Division I era.
Siena (0-13, 0-2 NEC) went toe-to-toe with the Hawks (10-4, 2-0 NEC) from the get-go, tying it at 1 with a goal from senior Sarah Szewczyk in the 22nd minute off the assist from sophomore Lindsay Mayo. The Saints tied it again at 2-2 in the 42nd minute, when sophomore Jessica Smith's shot deflected off Monmouth's goalkeeper and into the cage. It was the first goal of her collegiate career, but it wouldn't be the last time Monmouth would hear from her.
After the Hawks scored two goals in rapid succession, making it 4-2 with just over 16 minutes remaining, Siena's New Hampshire connection of Smith and Szewczyk went to work. A great pass from Szewczyk left the keeper out of position in the 58th minute, and Smith fired it into the net to cut the deficit in half. Less than three minutes later, Szewczyk got free on a break, passed it to Smith, and the second-year Saint completed the second hat trick in the program's Division I era with the ensuing equalizer.
Unfortunately, Monmouth's Kimmy Baligian broke the hearts of the Siena faithful in the 63rd minute. Off a pass from Michelle Pieczynski, who had a hat trick of her own, the junior fired a shot past Siena goalkeeper Beth Meyers to give the Hawks the lead for good. Meyers stopped 11 shots, and got help from teammates Mayo, Megan Bohse, and Jenn Reich, who combined for four defensive saves. Mayo had two in addition to her assist on Siena's first goal of the day.
Siena goes on the road next weekend, first going to Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday afternoon.