Blair's tough defense was not enough in defeat
The Montgomery Blair Blazers (1-1-1) varsity field hockey team lost a tough game to the B-CC Barons (2-0) by the score of 2-0 despite playing solid defense for most of the game.
From the start, the Blazers could not get the ball out of their half of the field, and the Barons capitalized by controlling the ball well. B-CC kept on the offensive, and that led to a score four minutes in. The Blazers did not respond initially to the quick offensive push, and needed a timeout to get back into the game. "I think it did wear us down a little, it affected us for a couple minutes, but I think we got it back up after the timeout, and we got back into the game," said senior captain Anna Hukill.
After the goal and timeout, the Barons stayed on the offensive, pushing the ball back into the Blair half. But the Blazers were ready for them this time, and the defense held them until halfway through the second half. They stopped six B-CC corners during the game, and stopped attack after attack from the opposing offense. At one point, Blair defender Leah Messina helped to clear the ball four consecutive times.
Blair's defense stopped almost every run from the tough B-CC offense. "They've been working very hard on defense, and one of our assistant coaches has been helping them in their positioning, and that has made a big difference," said head coach Candace Thurman.
Although the defense stopped B-CC throughout the game, the Blazers could not get started offensively. Midway through the first half, the Blazers got the ball ahead, and senior forward Emma Soler drew a penalty, giving Blair a chance to get more players down into B-CC territory. But the attack led to nothing after the Barons cleared the ball away.
Blair led three more runs in the second half, all started by senior midfielder Maddie Boyer. The Blazers forwards tried to push the ball up ahead, but the Barons again cleared the ball back to the other side of the field, and they could not find a way to the net. "We tried on defense to get the ball up the sidelines to the offense to let them do their thing," said Messina.
With 10 minutes left in the second half, the Blazers stopped three consecutive B-CC corners, but their relentless offense proved too much for Blair, and on the fourth corner, the Barons scored from a shot to the far post.
Blair has been changing their player roles recently and Hukill says that the continued adjusting may have been one of the reasons they could not move the ball up ahead. "We've been moving around positions a lot, and I think we were still getting used to that today, but defensively we were trying to get the ball up on those hits, and we were just having trouble with that, they were blocking them pretty well," said Hukill
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