The sun was out and blue sky shone clear overhead as the girls took the field to begin the game. As was the case last season, a contingent of dedicated fans took their place in the stands. Thursday afternoon saw the return of varsity field hockey to the St. John Paul the Great campus. The team opened their season this past Saturday and earned their first win in the second game of a double header after being defeated in the first game. On Thursday, the girls were seeking to open their home season with a victory over staunch opponent Fredericksburg Academy; a solid team which the current seniors on John Paul have never defeated. Needless to say, the Wolves understood they would need to rise to the occasion if they wanted to notch a win this time.
The game started off at a back and forth place with both teams trying to get their one opportunity to get an early lead. That was almost the case for the Wolves, but senior Renee Paquette’s goal was not counted as she was not inside the circle (the area inside which you have to be to score).
Shortly after this however, a goal was not wiped off. Sophomore Aidan Gelbach scored with 16:48 remaining in the first half to give the Wolves an early cushion. This seemed to be a wall of sorts that was broken down; the team appeared to relax and get the “We can actually do this” mentality.
With the clock under two minutes before halftime, Fredericksburg Academy scored a goal of their own to even the score entering the break. While they were not still winning, the Wolves knew they were in a good position to begin the second half.
The teams traded possessions, with only a limited number of scoring opportunities. Then with about 20 minutes to go in the game, junior Brooke Burke put the Wolves up 2-1.
As the game began to wind down, John Paul held steady. They didn’t panic and the defense didn’t back down. The suspense reached a height within the final minute when Fredericksburg Academy created one final opportunity to tie the game.
The Wolves crowded around the goal in an attempt to clear the ball but it was a relentless attack. The moment of the game came when senior Kelly Taylor saved the would-be tying goal with only seconds remaining and the John Paul defense cleared the ball out-of-bounds. Since the clock expired while the ball was out, Fredericksburg Academy was given one last attempt to score until the Wolves gained possession. The crowd was glued to the action as the ball entered play, and after a few tense moments, John Paul had the ball and the ref blew the whistle. The game was over; the Wolves had won.
“We played with a lot of heart and we won together. Everyone played for each other and we left it all on the field,” senior Renee Paquette said after the game.
“It was a great win to start the beginning of an incredible field hockey season,” fellow senior Meghan Jones added.
“I’m ridiculously proud of my team,” said senior Megan Loveless.
The next chance to catch the girls in action at home is next Friday against St. Gertrude’s. This will also be one of the biggest games of the season, as students are encouraged to come to the game and join in the festivities of karaoke and movie night following the game!
Once again, congratulations on the big win ladies!