Field Hockey: Knights show guts and heart in penalty stroke loss against Bears

Varsity loses 1-0 to Oakdale, shows heart and effort throughout game

The game between the Middletown High School Knights Varsity Field Hockey team and the Oakdale High School Bears could have been summed up in one image from the game.

During the first overtime period Middletown senior defender Abbey Provost had to come out of the game because she was feeling ill, then after barely a minute of rest immediately went back into the game.

This gutsy effort from A. Provost was just one of many from the Knights but unfortunately the Knights could not pull through in a game that they thoroughly dominated, losing 1-0 after two overtime periods and five rounds of penalty strokes.

Although A. Provost might have been shaken by the incident her postgame comments indicated no such feelings, as she knew she was needed by her team.

“It’s mental. You can’t waiver,” said Provost. “You have to keep your head in the game.”

The Knights were looking to regroup after being challenged by Middletown Head Coach Virginia Dumars to play as a team and also to snap a three game losing streak.

The Knights (2-5) and Bears (4-4) were in a tough environment to begin with as temperatures near game time were in the high 80’s and with the heat from the turf, the game felt more like an August afternoon than one in October.

Middletown started off the game with a couple good chances on net and was moving the ball up and down the field well and moving well but could not seem to get the ball inside close to the goalie.

During the first half the Knights attack was created by junior forward Samantha Breeze who had a shot on goal at 24:40 in the first half and help create chances with her speed down the left side.

As the first half continued on the Knights continued to try to increase the pace of play, but could not seem to match the intensity that they had looked to have coming into the game.

Late in the first half, Middletown sophomore goaltender Emma Provost had a big toe save on a breakaway by Oakdale to keep the game scoreless.

Provost would continue that trend all night, in what was one of her first starts of the season getting the start in net over senior goaltender Jasmine Spring.

Near the end of the first half, Middletown seemed to be slowing down, along with the intensity of the game, causing the Knights to give up two opportunities to Oakdale, even though no goals came from it.

Both teams seemed to come out sluggish in the second half, with the sun still beating down on them, as there were more errant passes, more balls rolling out of bounds, and a lot slower pace of play.

The Knights though were not without chances, as the Knights had a string of seven corners in less than three minutes.

But the Knights couldn’t capitalize on those corners with most of them not even resulting in shots on goal.

The corners that did result in shots on goal were positive though as they forced Oakdale sophomore goaltender Melissa Semkiw to make multiple saves during the second half.

On the day corners were just one of the many things that the Knights did not execute on, with the Knights having 15 corners but not being able to convert on any of them.

“It’s frustrating,” said Middletown senior midfielder Sarah Mueller. “We work really hard on it in practice and we really want results.”

The second half continued to drag on until Oakdale had a series of chances culminating in Bears sophomore forward Jackie Ramsburg having a breakaway with 7:39 left in the second half.

From then the pace of the game picked up, with Middletown creating chances off the stick of senior forward Jennifer Desimone.

The game though would end up going to overtime, which meant that it would be played 7-on-7 unlike the normal 11-on-11.

Both teams would have to prove their effort and this is where the heart of the Middletown team really stood out.

The Knights increased the intensity and used their speed and mobility to create multiple chances during the overtime including a 2-on-0 breakaway with Mueller rushing down the field and getting a shot off only to be turned away by Semkiw.

As the game reach the end of the second overtime, the players began to tire with multiple players from Middletown and Oakdale beginning to fall down.

The game would end up going to penalty strokes which allowed Semkiw to show off her talents even more.

The Bears goaltender stopped all five of the Knights shots including a last second pad save against Middletown senior defender Morgan Stottlemeyer and two blocker saves against Knights senior defenders Megan Robertson and Julianna Gesiotto.

Oakdale would tally in Round 2 of penalty strokes with junior midfielder sneaking one into the left corner of the goal, the only ball that would end up in the net all night.

It was a dominant effort for the Knights as they had 15 corners and 25 shots on goal plus the 5 from penalty strokes.

Abbey Provost said it best after the game saying “We didn’t capitalize.”

Semkiw was up for the challenge though as she had 24 saves during the course of play and five more during penalty strokes for a grand total.

There were positives for the Knights as the amount of shots on goal and the amount of effort that was generated seemed to be a step in the right direction for the Knights.

“As a team we did a very good job,” said Emma Provost. “We dominated through both halves and both OT’s. We worked really hard for this.”

Middletown showed the heart, the guts and proved that they could respond from a challenge. Now all the Knights need is a little bit of luck and a couple of goals.

 

The Middletown High School Knights JV Field Hockey defeated the Oakdale High School Bears 2-0 behind two goals of the stick of MHS sophomore Mallory Gumas.