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Lady Barons Lose to Damascus, 2-1

Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 by Calvin Cobb
Varsity Field Hockey: Lady Barons Lose to Damascus, 2-1
            The unsuspecting Lady Barons traveled to Damascus on September 24th, where they met a highly motivated Hornet team and were shocked, losing 2-1. The Hornets had lost to Churchill earlier in the season, 4-0, and evidently viewed this game as a way to resurrect their season. The young Barons’ team was not really ready to play. It was not the long trip to Damascus, or the bumpy field with unusually long grass in spots, as a team the Lady Barons simply did not match the Hornet’s intensity and that fact was reflected on the final outcome.
            There were bright spots of course. While the Hornets used their team speed to double the ball all over the field and pile up inside their own defensive circle, the Barons’ were the better team, controlling possession for most of the game and giving the Hornets very few scoring opportunities. In the face of a swarming Hornet team, Sunny Cobb stepped up her game and dominated the middle of the field. Catherine Mirsky also dominated her space, and created virtually all of the Barons’ offense. But, as a team, the Barons played this one as if an average effort would be enough; unfortunately, they were mistaken.
            In the opening part of the game, the Hornets came out as if this were a playoff game and their season was at stake -- the pace of play was very high and the athleticism of the Hornet team was amply displayed. Having survived the initial onslaught, however, the Barons gradually turned the tide, overcoming the inconsistent surface and keeping the ball inside the Damascus 40 yard line for extended periods. Rachel Ruda has a close in shot go just wide; Ruth Andrews drove a long ball into the circle for another chance. But the Hornets seemed well adapted to the field, staying very low, and the Barons lost some of the one-on-one battles for the ball that they normally would win. With about 7 minutes left in the first half, Damascus had only 1 shot when Mirsky blasted a ball downfield, springing Kelsey Kiser on a breakaway. Kelsy took it in but the goal came out and smothered the shot; no one was there for the rebound and the scoring threat evaporated. Various other drives into the Hornets circle lead to scrums in front or missed opportunities; the Barons were outworked inside and did not score. At half the game was tied, 0-0.
            Mirsky sprung Kiser again in the second half, this time the shot lead to a melee in front but the Barons were unable to put the ball in the net. Damascus had very few opportunities to score, but when they got the ball into the Barons’ end they brought everyone into the offensive end. Clare Vieth made a fine save on a bad-angle shot and everytime the ball came into the Barons’ circle there was a crowd of Hornets after it. The second half was mostly played between the circles, with the Barons getting the better part of the play but being unable to score. As time went on, both sides played physically – the Hornets appeared to escalate the physical play but the Barons were pleased to reciprocate. 
With 13 minutes left, the Hornets had a penalty corner in which they made four consecutive passes without the ball skipping over a stick (something the Barons were unable to do) and eventually scored on the right post to take a 1-0 lead.
            The Barons began to press, and the Hornets had a fast break that was ably broken up by Meredith Storm, Julia Pernick, and especially Ruth Andrews. But the Hornets swarmed and Clare Vieth was forced to lie across the goal mouth while both teams whacked at the ball in front of the Barons’ net. The Hornet were awarded another penalty corner, and scored again on the right post to make it 2-0 with about 4 minutes to play.
            To their credit, the Barons did not fold, and put all kinds of pressure on the Hornets net, eventually Mimmy Wentzel scored on a rebound of a Sunny Cobb shot. But the time ran out, and the Barons were left with a loss and lessons to be learned.

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