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Oct. 4, 2017

Field Hockey scores early in the second half to topple Northwood

by Mahnaz Habib, Staff Writer
After taking two consecutive losses, Blair varsity field hockey (3-2) was able to bounce back and earn a 1-0 victory over the Northwood Gladiators (2-4). Despite not having a strong start to the game, with effective communication and motivation the Blazers were able to squeeze in a goal during the second half that would eventually win them the game.

The first half was uneventful, with neither team able to gain an advantage. The Blazers' offense started slowly and wasn't able to put pressure on the Gladiator defense early on. Northwood was able to keep the ball on their opponentís side for nearly seven straight minutes to start the game, until the Blazers were able to gain possession and move the ball upfield.. Senior midfielder Marike Pinsonneault made several attempts to dribble the ball toward the goal, and midfielder Emma Smith came inches away from scoring a goal.

After being awarded a penalty corner, senior forward Laura Espinoza nearly scored, but was denied by the Northwood goalkeeper, who came up with a strong save. However, Blazers kept the ball on the opponentís side, as midfielder Addie McDonough ran up and down the field to keep the ball on offense.

After a quick debrief during the teamís break, Blazers were quickly able to score a goal during the first two minutes of the second half. Smith assisted with the goal with a hard pass through the defenders to Espinosa, whose shot beat the goalie to the bottom corner of the cage. She was glad she was able to come back strong and lead her team to victory. "We definitely wanted to come back after two losses, and we were so motivated to win, so this was great way to start our week off," said Espinoza.

With effective communication, the Blazers were able to pass the ball through the Northwood defense and come close to a second goal several times. Unfortunately, forward Leila Jackson was injured during the second half, but nonetheless, the defense fought resiliently to make sure that Northwood wouldn't be able to get back in the game.

Although satisfied with the win, the players felt that improvement was necessary to keep winning games. "We need to focus a lot more on not getting tired, starting off strong, and always, more communication is better," said Espinoza.

Pinsonneault agreed with Espinoza and recognized the improvements needed to make sure Blazers can always walk away with a win. "I think now all we need to focus on is recovering and really getting our endurance in," said Pinsonneault.

Captain Maya Hammond also agreed that although ending a two game losing streak was rewarding, the team still needs to develop a few more skills to reach their full potential. "Overall, Iím happy with the outcome and the fact that we were able to get a win. I think we could have worked a little harder on execution and getting the ball in the cage, but overall we had great communication and what we worked on in practice definitely showed in our game," said Hammond.

The Blazers will take on the Wheaton Knights at Wheaton on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Editorís Note: Laura Espinoza is a staff writer on Silver Chips



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