Blazers lose their first round playoff game 5-1
The Walter Johnson Wildcats (9-4) beat the Blair Blazers (2-11) Thursday night during their first playoff game at Walter Johnson. Blair allowed three goals early in the first half, then fought hard on defense and scored in the second half, but it wasn't enough to beat the Wildcats, who scored two more goals against the Blazers.
Walter Johnson was able to score three times during the first 15 minutes. Marike Pinsonneault and Anna Rives paired well to drive the ball downfield and Vicki Thach took a shot that came up short. Then a good crossing pass by Pinsonneault failed to connect with forward Kellyn Barber. Pinsonneault felt the team was working hard but could've stepped up their communication, "We had great passes and recoveries but I believed that if we had a better communication on the field from the start of the game it could have made a slight difference,” she said.
Lea Watkins-Chow had great midfield play during the end of the first half but Blair was unable to capitalize. With four minutes left in the first half captain Nika Seider moved the ball downfield but her pass was stolen by WJ, "We had so many opportunities and shots on goal. We all played really well and hard- I'm beyond proud of how far everyone's come,” she said.
Captain Marianne Benyamin fought hard on defense at the beginning of the second half and goalie Charlotte Cook made a save with 25 minutes left in the half, preventing the Wildcats from scoring their fourth goal of the night. Afterward Maya Hammond and Lien Dai Cao worked hard to pass the ball down the field and give Seider a chance to shoot, but the Walter Johnson defense shut her down.
Thach scored Blair's only goal of the game after Pinsonneault and Benyamin moved the ball down the field and with just ten minutes left in the second half. The Blazers defense worked hard for the rest of the game, preventing Walter Johnson from putting up any more goals.
Coach Lusby felt good about the team's hustle during the second half, "That game was the best I have ever seen our team play… I could not be more proud of the girls on this team,” she said. Overall the captains were also proud of the team's season, "I think we had a great season even though we didn't win that many games… it's just hard because we play a lot of tough schools who have been playing longer or have more experience,” Benyamin explained.
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