Field Hockey vs. University Lake School
Grace Tuttle’s goal in overtime gave the University School field hockey team a 2-1 victory over University Lake school in a closely-contested Wisconsin High School Field Hockey Association game on Saturday, September 7th at University Lake School in Hartland.
The Wildcats came from behind to achieve the win. Grace Charmoli, one of USM’s captains, described the situation, “Although we beat ULS 8-0 the first time we played them, we came into this game knowing that not every game is a guaranteed win. It was a lot harder for us to move the ball up the field because we were still adjusting to the grass’s surface and struggling to make strong passes. However, we managed to step up our aggressiveness and connect more passes by making sure to run towards the ball. There were a lot of moments when the other team got a fast break down towards our goal but we made sure to hustle back to help out our defense and get the ball back up on offense.”
The grass surface did disrupt the Wildcats play, and the Lakers made good use of their field by icing the ball regularly, putting their visitors back deep and attacking with energy. They put 5 shots on USM’s goalkeeper, Aspyn Koslowski, in the first half, but none made it past her and the half ended with the two teams tied 0-0.
The Lakers continued their strategy in the second half and scored the game’s first goal early in the period. Along the right sideline, Cate Banks gained control of an icing pass that sent the ball deep into USM territory. Banks made a short flat pass to Elyse Horner. Horner skillfully stickhandled past two defenders as she dashed into the Wildcats’ circle. As she crossed in front of the goal, she fired a low shot that went in at 22:54.
The Wildcats decided to play better. Athena Borca another of USM’s captains, explained, “As the game continued, we realized we needed to have the fire inside all of us ignited; connect our passes, go to the ball, and communicate. At the end of the game it was 1-1 and we went into sudden death. We wanted to win so bad and that translated to the field. We had great breakaways and connections. People would drop back when one went up. We ended up pulling off the win.”
Falling behind, the Wildcats took the measure of their opponents, the field, and the grass. They allowed ULS just one more shot on goal, giving Koslowski a game total of 6 saves. They moved the ball into the Lakers’ circle more frequently and began firing. Morgan Steidl, the Lakers’ goalie, ended up making 14 saves during the game.
The Wildcats’ renewed efforts eventually paid off. Anna Guttormson stopped a ULS shot in the USM circle. She sent a clearing pass into the midfield area. Tuttle raced to it and took off. She dribbled low into the Lakers’ circle. A defender knocked the ball away from Tuttle’s stick. Tuttle turned, got ball again, and as she turned back toward the ULS goal, she lofted a shot past Steidl to tie the game with 11:08 left in regulation time.
Energized, the Wildcats applied pressure on the Lakers’ defense as time ticked down. Steidl was stellar and she and her defensive cohorts kept USM from scoring and thereby sent the game into overtime.
In the 10 minute overtime, seven players from each team played by Associaiton stipulation. The USM players were ready, heartened by their comeback. They made a great team play to win the game.
After ULS iced the ball, USM captain and defensive stalwart, Rory Tevlin collected the bouncing ball near the edge of the USM circle. She quickly forwarded it to Charmoli who was retreating to give aid. Charmoli, in turn, sent the ball ahead to midfielder Greta Hinke. Hinke stickhandled past two ULS players then passed the ball to forward Tunmi Omoloja. Omoloja saw Tuttle ahead of her and passed it up. Tuttle raced into the ULS circle, eluding the last defenseman. She fired and scored at 7:46 to give USM the win.
Relieved after the game, USM’s head coach, Andrea Burlew said, “Every game will be a good competition this year, and today proved just that. We needed to adjust our game, and it took us some time to find our rhythm. After going down early in the second half, we really needed to rally together as a team. Our play elevated in the final five to six minutes, but we were unable to capitalize on it. Ending the game in a tie was not the way we hoped, but having a chance to prove ourselves during overtime was what we needed. We worked as a team and were a unit. We knew we wanted to win for Natalie Epperson, who left the game after taking an unfortunate hit to the head. Power is what we had during that overtime, and we moved it as a team, scoring the winning goal in sudden death.”
USM is 6-2 and 4-0 in the Wisconsin High School Field Hockey Association. The Wildcats play Arrowhead in a Wisconsin High School Field Hockey Association game at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10th at Arrowhead High School in Hartland.