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Prep Field Hockey: Eagles savor victory over district rival
BY JUSTIN RICE
Though Colonial Forge’s field hockey team is flush with new faces this fall, the returners who did play last year remember.
Three losses to rival Stafford in 2011. The first on penalty strokes, after the Indians had tied the game with seconds to spare. Twice in overtime, including a 3–2 defeat in the Northwest Region semifinals, when a win would have sent the Eagles to the school’s first-ever state tournament berth.
Those girls remembered, and enjoyed Thursday’s 1–0 Commonwealth District win a little extra.
Senior Ashley Vastano—one of Colonial Forge’s returners this season—scored 10 minutes into the game and the Eagles (3–1) exacted a small bit of revenge against the Indians (1–1).
Colonial Forge sophomore goalie Olivia Strobl stopped a pair of penalty strokes and the Eagles fended off Stafford’s 19–1 advantage in second-half corners while clinging to that one-goal advantage.
“We were just so ready for this game,” said senior Tenay Greene. “We were so close last year, and I think that just carried over this year. We wanted this so bad.”
Greene, who moved from a defensive wing last year to the middle of the defense this season, was at the center of the action during Stafford’s second-half flurry.
The Indians’ 19 corners after the break included a stretch of 13 over a 10-minute period that the Eagles resisted.
“I guess just the frustration kept us focused,” Greene said. “We kept at it. I’m really proud of all [my teammates].”
Three saves stood out in particular for Strobl.
A corner with 17 minutes, eight seconds to play led to a laser the sophomore had to fend off with her blocker pad.
Another corner three minutes later resulted in three Stafford shots that she blocked, and a fourth that she couldn’t. A defender committed a foul on the ball as it rolled to the cage, resulting in a penalty stroke.
Strobl stood strong.
Stafford’s Lindsey Lysher hit a good ball on the stroke, but Strobl was able to slide just to her left and swat the ball away with her blocker.
And with 8:50 to play, the Indians were awarded another penalty stroke when a shot to finish a breakaway was stopped illegally.
But this time the stroke was not well hit, and Strobl had an easy dive to her right to keep the ball from going in.
“Our goalie was so good today,” Vastano said. “She really stepped up and did well.”
Eagles coach Julie Spinelli had seen this before. The Indians had a 27–4 advantage in corners in last year’s Northwest Region playoff game—including a run of 15 straight that ended with a late game-tying goal.
Stafford had 25 corners yesterday, to just five for the Eagles.
“Stafford’s good. They’re going to convert on opportunities they have,” Spinelli said. “So, that was always in the back of my mind. But our girls stayed strong.”
After the game, the Eagles were tired. Frustrated.
And ecstatic for having finally broken through against Stafford.
“At the beginning we told our girls they’d have to play hard the entire 60 minutes,” Spinelli said, “and they did just that. They didn’t let down.”
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045