Field Hockey falls to Chargers in devastating semi-finals matchup
The field hockey team lost a heartbreaking match by a score of 2-1 to the Colby-Sawyer Chargers, who will now move on and play in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship against Johnson and Wales.
The Chargers looked to get on the board first early on, as they aggressively paced down the field and shot the ball off the outside of the Laser’s goalpost. Fortunately for the Lasers, the defense made several key stops through the entire first quarter.
During the second quarter, the Lasers appeared to be the hungrier team as they took control on offense just over a minute in but were denied by the Chargers’ keeper.
The visiting Chargers continued pressuring the Lasers, earning several corners along the way. Despite some great looks, the Laser defense held its ground. With six minutes left, the Lasers struggled to find an opportunity to put the ball in the back of the net, but moments later Graduate forward Sheridan Blaha was able to force a corner.
Unfortunately for the Lasers, the offense came up empty, and with the clock ticking toward the end of the first half, the Lasers ran out of time to score.
In the second half, the Lasers looked as strong as ever. The scoring chances continued to build off one another, which featured a remarkable stick save up in the air by a Charger defender who was on the goal line backing up her keeper. The Chargers' defense continued to show its brilliance, stopping an Abbey Playle scoring attempt with ease.
With just over three minutes left in the quarter, junior goalkeeper Courtney Tello made an incredible save, doing a partial split as she went onto one knee and fully extended her other leg. Two minutes later, with the Chargers still in the Lasers’ defensive circle, Tello made a clutch glove save as she batted the ball out of the air and out of harm's way.
Similar to the first quarter, both teams exchanged opportunities in the fourth quarter, with both defenses working tirelessly to prevent the go-ahead goal.
Following a Lily Stark steal, the Lasers missed out on another chance as the Charger defense made a big stop, but the Lasers’ offense kept their foot on the gas as they regained possession, and got the ball to their playmaker Playle. Playle then found Stark five yards in front of the net, and without hesitation, she shot it by the feet of the keeper to give her team the lead with just under nine minutes left in the game.
Just a couple of minutes later, the Chargers earned a corner and suddenly caught the Lasers’ defense sleeping. The Lasers failed to pressure the Charger player with the ball and instead stayed in front of the net, daring her to shoot it. Even after a whiff, the Charger stayed with it and powerfully shot it past Tello for the equalizer.
The match appeared up in the air for the taking, as the momentum continued to sway back and forth. The visitors, who earned another corner, tried the same play that gave them their first goal, but the Laser defense was ready and blocked their opposition's shot.
With 2:30 left in the game, the Chargers refused to go away, fighting every second to advance to the GNAC Championship. A second straight corner helped the Chargers’ offense regroup and take advantage of a tired Laser defense. This time, the visitors utilized a different strategy, and it paid off as a shot from the top of the Lasers’ defensive circle found the back of the goal, putting them up by one.
The Lasers battled until the final whistle but were left stunned as they came up small in a loss that ended an incredible season in which they finished as the #2 seed in the GNAC at 15-1. The defeat marks the second straight season in which the Lasers fell victim to another semi-final blunder.