Field Hockey - JV
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Facing perennial powerhouse Kent in their Parents' Day matchup, this game was a total team effort for the JV Rhinos. Taft took control of play from the first whistle and did not relent for the next 50 minutes putting together one of the team’s most complete games of the season. The first half was characterized by the Rhinos testing their ability to transition the ball from the midfield into the offensive zone; Greta Cole, Sophie Savage, Martha Lohuis and Perry Allen worked the ball methodically from the opposite 25 yard line to their opponents goal yielding six shots and four corners. The Kent defense was tough and their keeper came up with one save after another. Julia Kunzelmann, Andie Wardell, Michelle Tetro and Lulu Brauer, however, would not be deterred. Their low sticks and quick moving feet kept the ball in play and gave Taft a number of great looks at the cage. It was not until the final minute of the first half that all of this hard work paid off. Sophie Savage carried the ball up the right side beating a Kent defender and then crossed the ball to the ready stick of Madeline Meister who tipped the ball into the left side of the goal. Meister’s poise, control and hustled yielded this confidence boosting score taking the Rhinos into a crucial halftime respite, a time to regroup and refocus on the 25 minutes that laid ahead. During those five minutes the team solidified its most important attribute, the trust they have in each other. Coming into the second half, the Rhinos played with confidence and creativity, maneuvering the ball under pressure and using the space of the turf to their advantage. Kunzelmann was the first to score during the second half, picking off a loose ball at the 18:53 mark and quickly pushing it past a retreating Kent defense. Three minutes later, Brauer would score a very different goal. She received a brisk flat pass from Allen and then launched a laser-like shot from the top of the circle beating the keeper stick side. With the score 3-0, Kent doubled down in the midfield pushing aggressively to score. The defensive team of Greta Cole, Katie Salnikoff, Rachel Peverly and Carolyn Yow did a tremendous job anticipating and picking off passes, as well as clearing the ball from the defensive circle to safety. Goalie Emily Riccardi (5 saves) made three powerful clears during this barrage of Kent offensive which included 3 corner attempts in order to preserve the shut-out. Taft’s fourth goal, from Annaleise Pizzitola, would come in the final minute of the game off a series of connecting passes from Andie Wardell, Lulu Bradley and Madeline Meister. Pizzitola has a special knack for using her height and extension to reach for what appears to be the “unreachable” ball and creating magical opportunities out of thin air. The Rhinos were beyond proud and pleased to be able to “wow” their friends and family with such a strong showing. Taft will face a dominant Westminster squad on Wednesday for a home match. Go Big Red!