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Commonwealth Field Hockey: Shutout in final confirms Wildcats’ defense is king

MOUNTAIN VIEW DENIES

STAFFORD ACCESS TO ITS

END OF FIELD IN ROUT

BY JUSTIN RICE

Lost in Mountain View’s 6–0 barrage against Stafford in Friday’s Commonwealth District field hockey tournament final is a number more impressive than the onslaught of goals the Wildcats poured in: Two.

Two is the number of shots on goal Mountain View allowed in its three district tournament wins, a testament to a week of strong defense that lifted the Wildcats to their second straight district tournament title and on to the Northwest Region quarterfinals.

“Our defense is just so dominant,” said Mountain View goalie Caitlin Nolan, who didn’t have to make a save in any of the three district tournament wins—she was watching from the bench by the time Stafford earned two late shots Friday. “We work together so well. I can’t even put it into words.”

Mountain View will host Osbourn Park on Tuesday and Stafford has a home game against Battlefield in the Northwest Region quarterfinals. Colonial Forge, a 2–1 overtime winner against Brooke Point in Friday’s district consolation game, will play at Woodbridge.

Stafford and Mountain View officials are considering alternate locations and alternate days, in case the rain and wind expected early next week with Hurricane Sandy interfere with the planned schedule.

Mountain View probably wishes it could play again today, with the hot finishing touch the Wildcats displayed in the offensive circle Friday.

They dominated possession but only found the cage once in Thursday’s semifinal shutout of Brooke Point. That wasn’t the case in the championship game.

Mountain View scored on back-to-back chances in the last third of the first half against Stafford—the first when Bryce Barnes hit a laser into the goal off of Caity Maffia’s penalty corner insert, and the second when Gretchen Geisler converted on a third opportunity after twice collecting her own rebound off the goalie’s pads.

It got worse for Stafford in the second half.

Olivia Hubert scored off another of Maffia’s inserts on a corner, and Hubert hit a nice cross to Geisler for a 4–0 lead with 17 minutes, 20 seconds to play. Bailey McCarthy and Emily Johnson also scored in the final 10 minutes, and Morgan Lowry had an assist.

“I didn’t think we had a bad game [Thursday]. We controlled it,” Mountain View coach Pattie Sullivan said. “But our emphasis today was just to finish and have better corners. You don’t have any practice time with the back-to-back games, so I just told the girls, ‘It’s all mental. You’ve got to get out there, you know you can finish, you know you can do it, so let’s get it done.’”

And between the offensive flourishes, the defense was excellent, as it’s been all season.

Stafford didn’t have a corner in the first half but was awarded one early in the second, which didn’t result in a shot. It wasn’t until an Indians corner with 3:03 to play that Stafford finally got a shot through to the pads of Mountain View backup goalie Rachel Gregor.

“I think our defense is just such a tight-knit group,” center back Morgan Skavdahl said. “We know where we’re going to be, we know what angles we need to cut off, and our communication pulls us through.

“Each of us knows we have to step up in big games. We knew they were going to give us a good game today.”

COLONIAL FORGE 2 (OT), BROOKE POINT 1

Ashley Vastano broke away from the pack off a feed from Nikki Simpano eight minutes into overtime, drove into the circle and drilled a shot into the right corner of the net to give the host Eagles the victory in the earlier consolation game and send Colonial Forge into the Northwest Region quarterfinals.

Kate Roberts scored the Eagles’ first goal in the first half, thanks to an assist from Vastano off a corner.

Brooke Point’s Taylor Hays answered shortly afterwards with a goal off a Liz Washington assist and the game remained notched at 1 apiece through the second half and into overtime.

Maddie Davis had 14 save for the Black–Hawks while Caitlin Flinn had two defensive saves and Kristen Johnson had an overall strong game. Brooke Point finishes the season at 12–7.

Olivia Strobel had seven saves in goal while Erica Chuang and Tenay Greene had strong defensive games for Colonial Forge (14–5), which travels to Woodbridge Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for the regional quarterfinals.

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

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