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Oct. 14, 2008

Blazers wasted by Wildcats

by Katie Sint, Online Managing Editor
BLAZER FIELD, Oct. 13-

After gearing up and stepping back onto their home field for the first time since last Friday, the varsity field hockey team suffered a disappointing loss to the Walter Johnson Wildcats. Hitting their stride too late in the game, the varsity team (4-6-0) fell to the Wildcats 1-0.

The Blazers played cautiously for the majority of the game, allowing the Wildcats to lead for most of the second half. After allowing Walter Johnson to score early in the second half, the Blazers found their intensity with only three minutes left in the game and attempted to even the score. Unfortunately the team could not capitalize on their newfound energy and were unable to push the game into overtime.

Monday's game exhibited the biggest problem the fairly inexperienced team has faced this season: holding on to their aggression and intensity long enough to capitalize on it. "We don't get into the game until the end of the game," senior defender and midfielder Sonya Kaufman said. "We need to work on holding on to our intensity."

Both the Wildcats and the Blazers started off the game timidly; both teams unable to drive the ball down to their opponent's cage. Neither team truly controlled the ball or the game. The Wildcats and the Blazers battled over possession of the ball until the end of the half, leaving the score 0-0.

After a halftime speech by Franceschini, the Blazers stepped back onto the field inspired to play tougher and smarter. The team started off the half by forcing a corner on the Wildcats. Senior Rachel Passman and sophomore right forward Miranda Bernard worked together well, consistently driving the ball toward the Walter Johnson goalie. "Team chemistry has improved a lot," Bernard said.

The Blazers relinquished some of their intensity in the waning moments of the game, allowing the Wildcats to hammer in a goal on senior co-captain and goalie Katelyn Luker. Coach Franceschini called another timeout, urging her team to "play hungry." As the team huddled on the field, Franceschini's voice and message was heard from the sidelines. "Do it for you. Do it for Blair. And do it right now," she said.

Using Franceschini's words as inspiration, the team stepped up and formed a strong defensive opposition to the Wildcats team. Kaufman and Luker dominated the cage, stealthily blocking goal attempts by Wildcat breakaways and forcing errors on several flyers. Junior Laura Li and sophomore Blake Morgan-Gamber proved to be a formidable force on the field, rejecting long drive attempts by their opponents.

With three minutes left in the game, the Blazers went on the offense as Passman, Bernard and junior left forward Nellie Garlow broke through the Wildcat defensive wall and drove to the cage. The Blazers forced two corners on the Walter Johnson goalie; barely missing two goal attempts. As soon as it seemed the Blazers had finally hit their stride, the clock ran out for the varsity team, leaving the final score at 1-0.

The Blazers' next home game is Oct 15 against Walter Johnson at 3:30.

Editor's note: Laura Li is a member of Silver Chips Business staff.



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