Greenwich High field hockey outlasts Pomperaug 1-0

Greenwich High School's Kate Palastro works to get the ball from Pomperaug's Allison McCormick during Monday's Columbus Day matinee. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High School’s Kate Palastro works to get the ball from Pomperaug’s Allison McCormick during Monday’s Columbus Day matinee. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School field hockey team was looking for a game like this one.

In a Columbus Day matinee at Cardinal Stadium, Big Red took to the turf against a talented Pomperaug High School team. Scoring early in the second half, Greenwich was able to hold on and secure the 1-0 victory.

“The girls worked so hard,” Greenwich head coach Allyn Orrico said. “I am really proud of the fact that we talked about focusing and we did that. We have had flashes of brilliance throughout the season, but then we had lapses and breakdowns. Today they really were a 60-minute team across the board. We took the great things we did during practice and put them into the game. We controlled the tempo and that was big for us.”

After a scoreless first half, Greenwich didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard.

Big Red's Erika Hvolbeck races down the field during the Columbus Day game against Pomperaug High School. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Big Red’s Erika Hvolbeck races down the field during the Columbus Day game against Pomperaug High School. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich won possession of the ball and immediately marched down the field. Sarah Stinebaugh took the initial shot that the Pomperaug goalie made the save on.

However she wasn’t able to control the rebound and the ball landed on the stick of Paige Mautner, who calmly took the rebound and found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead only 34 seconds into the second half.

“Paige is such a talented player and she’s young,” Orrico said. “Some times you forget that she’s only a sophomore because she’s so talented and wise beyond her years. The thing I love about her is that despite how talented she is, Paige is always trying to ask questions to see how she can get better. It’s great to have someone that is coachable with that level of talent.”

Mautner said that getting the goal was primarily due to the outstanding play of her teammates around her.

“My team did a really great job possessing the ball and bringing it all the way down,” Mautner said. “It was kind of a scrum, but we managed to spread out and I was there to tip it into the goal. It was great to get this win. Last year we tied them and in the last 12 seconds we scored to win, so we wanted to keep the streak up. Since the season has been slow so far, this will definitely get our momentum up.”

Big Red had a chance to add to its lead with 22:21 to play in the game, as Stinebaugh charged through the middle of the field and got through the Pomperaug defense. She went for the shot, but just before, a Panther defender got a stick on the ball for the deflection.

Pomperaug was applying the pressure throughout most of the final 10 minutes. However the GHS defense stepped up its game and cleared the ball every chance they had.

“It happens I guess,” Pomperaug head coach Anne Strobel said. “We still have some of the season left. We have our weaknesses and we’re going to just push forward. I wish this went to our advantage, but it happens.”

Although Greenwich got the victory, it was Pomperaug that started the game on the attack. With 11:52 to play, the Panthers were charging towards the net and were looking for the open shot, however Cate Decker and Sarah Cicchetti were there to stop Pomperaug.

Only 45 seconds later it was Greenwich’s turn on the attack. Alayna Santarosa gained possession of the ball and broke through the Panther’s defense. She was 1-on-1 with the Pomperaug goalie, but her shot was kicked aside.

Pomperaug’s best chance at tallying a score came with 9:23 to play in the half, as Caroline Dwyer got possession of the ball on the corner opportunity in the middle of the net about 10 yards out. However her shot sailed high by mere inches and went out of harm’s way.

“I thought we moved the ball well up the field,” Strobel said. “We’ve been practicing on passing and cutting into the space. Greenwich did it very well as well.”

With the victory, Greenwich improved to 4-3-4 on the season while Pomperaug fell to 8-2-1 overall.

To read more on the gam, including more quotes and stats, check out Thursday’s Greenwich Post.

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