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Oct. 12, 2017

Blazers can't keep up with the Rockets

by Mahnaz Habib, Staff Writer
Blair varsity field hockey (4-4) suffered a tough loss to the Richard Montgomery Rockets (4-5) in Oct. 9, falling 3-0. Despite fighting hard and playing with intensity throughout the game, the Blazers were unable to get the ball out of their own half and were unable to create any chances on offense .

Right from the start, the Blazers were playing aggressively, pressuring the ball quickly as soon as the Rockets gained possession. The game was fast paced, with both sides trading possession with the ball constantly. However, Richard Montgomery was quickly able to steal possession of the ball. The rockets midfielder swept the ball across the field, passing it diagonally across the field to their forward. Extremely close to scoring a point, senior goaltender Charlotte Cook was able to kick the ball out of the cage just in time.

For the majority first half, Richard Montgomery dominated possession, keeping the Blazers scrambling on defense. Junior midfielder Addie McDonough made several attempts to carry the ball down the field, but was instantly pressured every time by a Richard Montgomery defender, who made a hard drive back toward the Blair side of the field. McDonough believes that the team needs to focus on practicing keeping possession of the ball if they want to score any goals. "We need to focus on valuing the possession we get and making the most of free hits in order keep possession as long as possible," said midfielder McDonough.

Although Blazers were not able to play offense for most of the first half, their defense certainly shined. Cook defended the cage well, constantly keeping her eye on the ball and kicking it out of the cage after several attempts for a shot by Richard Montgomery. Blair defense also crowded around the goal, and worked to defend it with persistence.

With nine minutes remaining in the first half, a quick pace and aggressive passing allowed Richard Montgomery to run through Blair's defense and slip a goal past Cook. Senior forward Leila Jackson and senior midfielder Julia Henderson put together a couple of nice passes to bring the ball to the Richard Montgomery side of the field before halftime, but the Rockets were able to stop them a go on a quick counterattack, which led to another goal. The half ended with Richard Montgomery holding a 2-0 lead.

However, the Blazers began to run out of gas in the second half. Only four minutes in, Richard Montgomery successfully passed through the defense and scored another goal. With 26 minutes left in the game, Blair was in a 3-0 deficit. According to McDonough, their biggest problem is endurance, and keeping up with the pace. "Our main problem is that we kind of ran out of steam and started to play sloppily. I think if we can clean up our game a little we will be able to put more balls on the back of the cage and hopefully pull off a win," McDonough said.

Senior defender Mikaela Moore stayed strong the remainder of the game, constantly guarding the goal as Richard Montgomery keeps up a strong offense. Senior captain and defender Lea Watkins-Chow stole the ball with 15 minutes remaining, passing it to midfielder Julia Henderson, who dribbled the ball up toward the goal. Unfortunately, the referee called obstruction, and Richard Montgomery took back possession of the ball.

Although Blazers was unable to score a point, they used this game to address their strengths and weaknesses so they know what they need to do to improve for next time. Watkins-Chow thinks that although they lost, they should be proud of the improvement the team has made so far and need to keep working hard. "I think we played really well as a team today. We definitely fought really hard for the entire game. Also, a lot of the things we worked on in practice came together," she said.

For their next game, Watkins-Chow thinks the Blazers need to practice hard, as they're taking on the higher ranked Bethesda Chevy Chase (BCC). "Our next game is against BCC, and they are a really strong team, so we probably are going to have to be on defense quite a bit, but when we’re on offense I want us to try and get some goals," said Watkins-Chow.

The Blazers will play their next home game on Wednesday Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., against BCC



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