by Donald Daniels
With the top seeds Mount de Sales and St. Mary’s meeting in the IAAM B Conference field hockey championship game, it should have come as no surprise that overtime would be required. It was Saint's freshman Gracie Driggs who came up with the game’s only goal giving St. Mary’s a 1-0 win in a thrilling double overtime contest.
In a game that had multiple goals waved off, it took 78 minutes before the Driggs tally clipped the Sailor in front of a packed crowd at Archbishop Spalding High School.
“We were really working well as a team, everyone was pumped up and we connected so well,” Driggs said.
Mount de Sales (13-7) received 13 corner chances while St. Mary’s took nine shots from the corner position.
“Their drive and their commit to the program all season was key,” Marsh said. “They really clicked as a group of girls and they had a lot to prove.”
Sailor senior Gianna Antone gave the Saints defense headaches throughout the first half and came up with excellent scoring chances. Antone had a solid scoring stroke five yards in front of the cage, but St. Mary’s sophomore Reagan O’Toole came up with a diving save early in the first half to keep the game scoreless.
With two and an half minutes left in the first half Antone found the back of the cage, but the shot was waved off because it was ruled too high. One minute later Antone again got the ball passed O’Toole, but the goal was called back due to a foot violation by the Sailors and both team finish the first half with a stalemate.
“In the second half we finally really started to play our game,” St. Mary’s first year head coach Kaitlyn Marsh said. “We really turned it on in overtime and think that is reason why we were successful.”
During the second half, both teams generated a combined 12 corner chances but neither side could convert those chances into scores. With two minutes left in regulation St. Mary's senior Spira Rosseau connected on a would-be goal, but a foot violation by the Saints ruled the goal null and void.
In the first overtime period, the game was played at midfield as neither defense was willing to give in. Rosseau was able to find some daylight and burst through Sailor defense and had a clear path to cage. On the shot attempt Rosseau was fouled from behind, which gardened a penalty stroke with three minutes left in the first overtime period. Rosseau shot was kick saved by Sailor goalkeeper Heather Stofregen (six saves) and the game went into other overtime period.
“We were really pumped up to get into overtime and see what we could do,” Driggs said.
The game seemed to be headed toward to a shootout but Saint Mary’s (14-3-1) was given a corner chance with three minutes left that proved to be game-winning play.
Driggs passed the ball in from the corner position and senior Mia Haschert and Molly McAteer tried to force the ball in, but after a few deflections, Driggs came in and clean up the ricochet shot and buried the game-winner.
“It was just so much fun with the other girls this season,” Driggs said. “We played so well all year long and to get this level of play was so cool.”
“I really think it was adrenaline that carried us through,” Marsh said. “We came to the B conference with a lot to prove and the girls worked hard and they did it.”