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Varsity Lady Barons 4 Richard Montgomery Rockets 0

Posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 by Calvin Cobb
Varsity Field Hockey: Lady Barons 4 – Richard Montgomery Rockets 0
 
            On a gorgeous September 17th afternoon at Richard Montgomery High’s brand new astroturf stadium, the Lady Barons overwhelmed the Rockets 4-0. The Barons are improving each week: the team stalwarts are becoming more stalwart, but more importantly to the Barons’ post-season plans is the dramatic step forward from the younger players – who as we speak are stepping up and filling in the gaps.
 
            After testing themselves against the best teams in Washington last weekend, St. Agnes and Severna Park, the Barons showed their vast recent improvement against the Rockets by controlling the play from the outset, using the Amy Wood’s patented triangular passing scheme to work the ball up and down the field. On offense, Page Donnelly, Clare Becker, Catherine Mirsky (who played hurt until the game was in hand), Rachel Ruda, and Mimmy Wentzel consistently obtained possession and worked the ball up the field, inside and outside; at midfield, Mirsky, Sunny Cobb, Charlotte Kettler, Ruth Andews, and Meredith Storm used speed and finesse to control the ball and the tempo of the game. On defense Julia Pernick, Storm, and Cobb made sure goaltender Claire Vieth had little or nothing to do all day, and consistently blunted the Rockets’ attempts to break into the Barons’ circle.
 
Coach Amy Wood’s teams generally start the year slowly, because while hustle and conditioning is important, team play is more important -- every player is an important link in the chain and while on the field every single Baron player is called upon to move intelligently without the ball and make good decisions with the ball. Against Richard Montgomery Kettler was all over the field, and moved so well with the ball and without that she earned the player of the game award – “Amy’s Apple.” While we have come to expect that Becker, Donnelly, and Cobb would be dominant at their respective positions, it is very encouraging that Storm, Pernick and Ruda are breaking through, and are becoming very strong links in the chain. And more players are on the verge of breaking through -- Josie Lopes and Jenn Dewey also got a lot of time, and showed they too can play well at the varsity level.
 
As the Lady Barons’ juggernaut continues to build up steam, the Rockets had little chance. Seven minutes into the game, Page Donnelly took the ball down the sideline, made the turn in the corner and crossed a pass back to a trailing Clare Becker, who converted to give the Barons a 1-0 lead. The Barons kept the pressure on – whenever the Rockets would clear the ball Storm or Cobb or Kettler would turn it back around and move it up to Ruda or Donnelly on the wing, or Mirsky in the middle. On a side out, Mirsky just missed converting Kettler’s long drive from the sideline that went all the way through to the far post. Mirsky created the second goal by carrying the ball into the circle, drawing the defense, and dropping it off to Becker who scored easily, making it 2-0. 
 
The Barons let up a bit in the latter part of the first half, giving up an offensive flurry to the Rockets leading to a corner. The Rockets executed well, but shot wide. Immediately thereafter, Donnelly fired a ball up the middle to a sprinting Becker, who split the defenders, drew the goaltender and dropped a pass across the goal mouth to Donnelly. Donnelly was surrounded and could not find the handle, so the Rockets dodged one there. Becker and Donnelly made some great passes inside the circle, including a fine cross to Wentzel, whose shot went inches wide.
 
With 9:35 left in the half, Kettler carried it through traffic into the circle, dropping off to Becker, who took it low to the end line and then crossed it to back to Donnelly (pretty much replaying the first goal, but reversing the roles). Donnelly put it in for a 3-0 lead. The Barons kept the pressure on and received a penalty corner – Becker made a fine insert and Cobb took a shot that deflected off a defender’s stick and went high and far, well into the parking lot. With less than a minute to play, Ruth Andews recovered the ball well outside the circle and fed a beautiful pass to Becker about 10 yards out; Becker turned and shot in one motion and drilled it into the back of the net (for her third goal of the game).
 
In the second half, the Barons lost their edge a bit and while they continued to dominate possession, other than some isolated good shots, which the Rockets goal tender did well to handle, the Rockets held their own a little better. Coach Wood took the opportunity to get some playing time for the Barons’ future stars, including Lindsay Chan, Lydia Marks, and Rachel Natoli, all of whom played a lot and played well.
 
Overall, the Barons have improved tremendously in a short time and are on track for the post-season, but they have a ways to go yet if they expect to compete with a very strong Fallston team, which no doubt will be waiting for them in November.
 
Write up by Calvin Cobb

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