Senior midfielder Jackie Renda charges forward into Lafayette’s zone and applies pressure to the defense on Friday, Oct. 6th, 2017, at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Lafayette outshot Lehigh 20-7 in the game. (Maddy Hite/B&W Staff)

Renda acts as unsung hero in Lehigh field hockey’s upset rivalry win

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Lehigh field hockey senior midfielder Jackie Renda didn’t put any numbers on the stat sheet. She didn’t score the game-winning goal in overtime. She didn’t make 12 saves in a shutout of her Patriot League rival.

But Renda’s impact on Friday night’s 1-0 win against Lafayette College was certainly felt.

The scoreboard might suggest otherwise, but there was plenty of action between the Lehigh Valley field hockey foes.

Renda was an integral piece in stopping Lafayette’s transition offense. She tracked down Lafayette forwards all night long, preventing breakaway opportunities from becoming goals scored. Renda led the Mountain Hawk defense, which kept the Leopards off the scoreboard behind a shutout and 12 saves from sophomore goalkeeper Paige Innarella.

“The only thing going through my mind was (to) give it all I had,” Renda said. “This was a game I wanted to win more than anything in the world. Before the season, we set a goal to beat Lafayette just because our senior class has never done it. Going into the game knowing that our goal was riding on it, we came out with a much higher energy.”

Renda’s energy radiated through her teammates for all 85 minutes of play time. The night ended in sudden-death overtime when junior forward Teresa Carotenuto sent the winning goal past Lafayette goalkeeper Sarah Park for a victory. It was Lehigh’s first win over Lafayette in 13 games.

Renda was a catalyst in getting the ball out of Lehigh’s territory and into Lafayette’s circle, drawing three penalty corners in overtime and scoring on the last one.

“(Renda) is someone that you can rely on to give 120 percent all the time, even if she doesn’t have 120 percent to give,” Lehigh coach Caitlin Dallmeyer said. “(Renda) was a motor out there tonight. She gave every last piece of herself to win this game.”

Renda’s teammates echoed their coach’s praise for the midfielder.

“(Renda) is a hustler,” Carotenuto said. “She’s a playmaker. Even when we were down in the late minutes, she picked us right back up.”

Renda is a senior member of the team’s leadership council, which is not typical of captains. She’s been on the council for the past two years under Dallmeyer, and it’s evident she’s been rock-steady when the team needed her.

“(Renda) is one of the hardest workers on our team,” Innarella said. “In moments like this is where it shows the most.”

Carotenuto said Renda consistently shows she can outrun and outplay competitors.

“So tonight, in the 77th (minute) when we were down and in kind of in a lull, everyone knew Jackie was going to keep going,” Carotenuto said.

Renda and her teammates snapped a dismal 13-game skid spanning over 12 years against Lafayette, a losing streak that Dallmeyer knew has lingered in the back of players’ minds throughout the years.

“We knew there had been over 50 Lehigh field hockey players to leave this program without beating Lafayette,” Dallmeyer said. “We’ve got four seniors this year. We didn’t want there to be four more.”

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