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Eagles rally, top Wolverines in Commonwealth field hockey quarterfinals

BY JUSTIN RICE

How Colonial Forge’s field hockey team ends the season—whether it’s in the Commonwealth District, Northwest Region or Group AAA state tournament—likely hinges on how the Eagles finish in the offensive circle, that is.

Yesterday, Ashley Vastano had two fine finishes for Colonial Forge, helping to rally the Eagles past North Stafford, 3–2, in the Commonwealth District quarterfinals.

It’s been the script for the Eagles’ season—good possession in the midfield, but a spotty finishing touch around the cage.

“That’s the story of our lives,” said senior Kathleen Namey.

Colonial Forge (13–6) will play at top-seeded Mountain View at 4 p.m. tomorrow. Three Commonwealth teams will advance to the Northwest Region tournament, so a win by the Eagles either tomorrow or in a consolation game will secure a bid.

But that run could have ended yesterday, when Colonial Forge had trouble finding the cage early.

Despite a sturdy control of play—and a healthy advantage in shots—the Eagles trailed North Stafford, 2–1, with 18 minutes, 23 seconds to play.

Sydney Melillo scored twice for the Wolverines—the first late in the opening half after Meghan O’Connor carried the ball into the Eagles’ circle, and the second with 18:23 left in the game, off a sharp pass from Danni Addison.

“I was mad, and I think they were mad,” Colonial Forge coach Julie Spinelli said. “We have a really big senior class, and we told them, ‘This could be the last 18 minutes of your career.’ I think that did spark a little fire. They didn’t want it to be over.”

Vastano took the advice to heart.

It was almost on hustle alone that she tied the game, three minutes after Melillo had put North Stafford ahead.

Vastano was at the end of a Forge attack and beat the goalie along the end line with a shot that tucked just inside the far post of the cage, clanging loudly off the upright. Seven minutes later, she collected a rebound and scored from close range to put Colonial Forge ahead.

“She’s definitely a hustler,” Namey said. “She has the most tenacity on our team and always has urgency near the goal.

“She picked up the tempo of our game and brought us back into it.”

And just a little extra push was all the Eagles needed.

“It’s there. It’s on the line,” Spinelli said. “Someone’s got to dive for it, or go after it.

“That little extra umph, that’s what we need. Sometimes it just takes one little touch.”

The season is over for North Stafford (7–10), which managed to finish fifth in the regular season with a young lineup.

“I feel really good about what we accomplished this year,” Wolverines coach Laura Cwick said. “From where we started at the beginning, our skills we’re really rough, but it seems like we hit our stride. We’re pretty young. I think they did well for what I expected.”

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2011/10/25/eagles-rally-top-wolverines-in-commonwealth-field-hockey-quarterfinals/

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