DARIEN, Conn. – Every time Darien’s Averill Roberto turned around, the ball was on her field hockey stick for Wesleyan University in a game last Saturday against Bates. The senior forward made the opportunities count.
Roberto scored four goals and tied two school records as Wesleyan won, 5-1. Roberto, who also had an assist, tied the Wesleyan record for most goals in a game and most points in game. All of her goals came in the second half. Teammate Taylor Wells, also of Darien, added an assist on Roberto’s final goal.
“I’ve never had four goals in a game before at any level,’’ Roberto said. “The fact that we were playing on smooth surface helped our chemistry. The ball was being passed with incredible pace, and I was able to get a lot of one-on-one opportunities against a defender. It was one of those days where everything was perfect. We were saying on the bus afterward, ‘Did that really just happen?’’’
Roberto’s goals came in a variety of ways, from blasts at the top of the circle to a penalty corner. “We did things that we’ve practiced but have never worked in a game before,’’ she said. “This time they worked. It was a great day.”
Roberto has a team-high seven goals for Wesleyan, which has won five of its last six games. Although she played frequently during her first three years at the school in Middletown, this is Roberto's first as a full-time starter.
“We play with three forwards, which made it harder to get into the lineup,’’ she said. “Most teams play with four forwards. All the starters before had been there until this year. I’m playing the center position, and in the last few years I played a couple different places. I have more ownership of the field. I feel like I’m more oriented now that I’m playing center.”
Wells, a defender, has also been important for Wesleyan. The junior has started all 39 games since coming to Wesleyan. She had a breakout performance of her own the day after Roberto, netting a goal and two assists in a 4-2 win over Colby. “It’s nice that we have that Darien connection,’’ Roberto said.
She played on some strong field hockey teams at Darien before attending Berkshire School in Massachusetts. Her career is fast coming to a close, with just three games left in the regular season after this weekend. “It will be weird not playing in a couple of weeks."
Roberto is looking forward to her final few games of the regular season. The most critical is a game against Amherst, a member of the Little 3 with Wesleyan and Williams. Wesleyan has not won the three-way rivalry since 2003. The rivalry is among the fiercest in college athletics, no matter the sport.
“My big goal is to win that,’’ Roberto said. “We’d really like to win those three games and take that title.”