Field Hockey - JV
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The Rhinos fell just short of pulling out the tie in a tough road game versus Deerfield. The match started in dramatic fashion with defender Carolyn Yow making a defensive save and ripping away Deerfield's hopes of scoring on an early drive to the cage. Yow's save was then backed up by a powerful kick clear by goalie Emily Riccardi (ten saves for the game). Deerfield continued their push to score and was ultimately successful at the 17 minute mark popping in a goal off a corner. This flurry of offensive action by Deerfield woke the Rhinos up who, after a strategic time out, collected themselves and refocused on the game plan. Taft began to assert themselves on the field and to match Deerfield’s sticks. Perry Allen and Julia Kunzelmann led the charge on the offensive end connecting for five breakaways. Their efforts were fueled by critical defensive plays by Greta Cole, Katie Salnikoff and Rachel Peverly who channeled the ball to midfielders Sophie Savage, Michelle Tetro and Martha Lohuis. Though the game was played primarily in the midfield, Taft did all it could to break out of this purgatory. Andie Wardell used her speed to cut for the ball; Madeline Meister made connecting passes linking defenders to the attack; Lulu Bradley hustled to recover on defense; and, Annaleise Pizzitola laid blocks to regain control of the ball. As is the case in field hockey, corners create exceptional opportunities to score. Deerfield capitalized on this and scored in the waning moments of the first half. With the board reading 2-0 at halftime, the Rhinos we well aware of the deficit they needed to reclaim in the remaining 25 minutes of the game. And, that they did. When pushed to raise their focus, they did. When challenged to raise their intensity, they did. When guided to sharpen their stick skills, the did. Deerfield was caught off guard by Taft’s forceful return to the field. As the momentum shifted, Taft had one opportunity after the next to score, in particular off of corners, seven in total. With six minutes remaining in the game Sophie Savage ripped a shot off the insert from Martha Lohuis putting the Rhinos on the board, 2-1. Scoring one goal, however, was not enough. During the remaining time, Taft dominated play and was awarded two more corners. Alas, it was a game of inches with Perry Allen, Julia Kunzelmann and Lulu Brauer taking shots that went just wide. The Rhinos did all they could to score the tying goal, but their determination would go unrewarded despite their response to the call to action. Such is an important lesson that is learned by sports. Thankfully, the team can look to each other for support as they move forward together to the next challenge. The Rhinos will face Ethel Walker for a home game on Wednesday. Go Big Red!