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Lady Barons Disappoint Churchill, 2-0

Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 by Calvin Cobb
Lady Barons Disappoint Churchill, 2-0
            On a lovely October 14th evening, the Lady Barons invited the undefeated Churchill Bulldogs to come over to play and help celebrate Senior Night at B-CC. Using comparative scores, and a pre-season drubbing of the Barons at Pokemoke, the Bulldogs had every reason to believe that this might be their year. The Lady Barons mistreated their guests, however, and the Bulldogs were sadly disappointed.
            The first five minutes of the games were all Churchill. The Bulldogs jumped into the Barons’ passing lanes, dominated possession with crisp back passes and cross-field hits, and kept the ball in the Barons’ half of the field. They did not get any good scoring chances, but the Barons looked nervous, mis-hitting balls and missing routine plays. But to their credit the Barons adjusted, moving better into space, creating open passing lanes, and making longer passes so the ball outran the Bulldog defenders. The seniors – Catherine Mirsky, Clare Becker, Julia Pernick, and Mimmy Wentzel – decided this was going to be their night and took over the game. Turning the tide, the Barons shed their Senior night nerves when captain Julia Pernick started a transition moving the ball out to Sunny Cobb, who hit the ball down the side to Charlotte Kettler. Kettler moved it into the middle to Catherine Mirsky who forwarded the ball down the side to Mimmy Wentzel (who was fabulous all night). Wentzel carried it into the circle and was swarmed by Bulldog defenders. Page Donnelly dove into the crowd of defenders and got a shot close in, but the Bulldogs’ goaltender smothered the angle and the Barons’ first foray into the offensive zone was thwarted. The Bulldogs did not clear the ball from their zone, however, and a short time later Mirsky blasted a shot from the outside, Donnelly kept it alive, and with 19:50 left in the first half Clare Becker overpowered the nearest defenders to make the score 1-0 Barons.
            Two minutes later, taking advantage of an emotional let down by the Bulldogs, Charlotte Kettler blocked a clearing pass, carried the ball up the sidelined and passed to Donnelly, who carried the ball in through two defenders. Mimmy Wentzel prevented the clear and shot and, again, Clare Becker was on the spot to put the ball in. The Barons took a commanding 2-0 lead with 17:20 remaining in the half.
But the Bulldogs were not done. Showing the pride (and ability) of an undefeated squad (a team that beat Damascus 4-0 at Damascus), the Bulldogs tried to even the score and mounted a threat of their own. They got the ball inside the circle and earned several penalty corners, but goaltender Claire Vieth, in what may have been her best game ever, was right were she needed to be. She was nimble and smart and got some timely help from Julia Pernick and Rachel Ruda and Ruth Anderson, but not until she had made some very difficult saves. On one penalty corner, the ball ended up outside the circle but came back in, and Vieth was left alone with two Bulldog players, who determinedly whacked at the ball with nothing but a goaltender between the ball and the net. Vieth stood her ground, blocked every shot, and patiently waited for the cavalry to arrive in the form of Meredith Storm and Julia Pernick. Churchill received several other penalty corners, and each time managed a shot from close in. But Vieth was there each time, with her friends, and let nothing in.
With Churchill pressing to score, the game opened up and became a wild, see-saw affair. Having smothered some very serious scoring threats, the Barons mounted a quick counterattack when Mirsky took the ball from the top of the circle and blasted it down the field into open space, Wentzel made a great move down the middle of the field, into the circle, for the shot, Donnelly flew into the crowd of defenders, causing the goaltender to lose her balance and fall down. In the swarm of offenders and defenders that followed in front of the open net, the Bulldog defenders managed to force the ball just wide. In the ensuing side out, Mirsky passed to Kettler who had a fine shot blocked, and the Bulldogs managed a counter attack of their own. Hitting the ball 60 yards down field the Bulldogs had a 2 on 2 and a whole lot of open field – but the Barons were well represented by Julia Pernick and Sunny Cobb, however, who broke up the play somewhat routinely before it got within 30 yards of the Barons’ goal. 
             Inside 2 minutes, Churchill managed a 4 on 2 fast-break, using their skill and their numbers to get two more point-blank shots. But Claire Vieth showed why she wears 00 on her back, and she blocked them all. The Barons came right back with a fast break of their own, Page Donnelly and Charlotte Kettler got inside the circle with the ball and shot right on goal, but the Bulldog defenders managed to keep it out. 
            Overall, the game was another step forward for the Barons. They managed to make a very good Churchill team look ordinary, adjusted their passing lanes and played well together, and fed off the leadership of the senior class when the game started a little slow for them – especially Catherine Mirsky, who just gets tougher as the game gets tougher. They won their division and a number 1 seed in the Region, which should be very helpful in the post-season, and have obviously improved a great deal since the beginning of the season. Amy’s apple went to Clare Becker for her 2 goals and consistent good play.
Write up by Calvin Cobb

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