Khara Brettell scores a goal in Woodstock’s win against Brattleboro. (Rick Russell Photo)
By David Miles, Sports Correspondent
And on the 16th chance they finally converted! After having 15 penalty corners in the game’s first 25 minutes, the Woodstock field hockey team finally got on the scoreboard late in the first half Monday afternoon against Brattleboro.
There could be two ways to look at having all those penalty corners, but not scoring on any of them. One might be that of frustration at having so many unfulfilled opportunities. The other option would be that WUHS was evidently in charge and controlling play.
Field hockey coach Annie Doton definitely preferred the latter when analyzing Woodstock’s 2-0 victory over the Colonels.
“It’s pretty positive that we dominated so much,” the coach said. “It means we were doing some awesome stuff in the open field to lead to all those chances.
“It also shows that we are still a super young team and that we need to execute better in those situations. It is an area where we need to improve.”
Khara Brettell put the ball into play on the majority of those situations and she also scored the goal. As she usually did, she passed the ball to MacKenzie Yates, who shot it towards the goal. There was a scramble in front of the net and Brettell alertly pounced on the loose ball and skipped it past goalie Natayla Forkin.
“Khara stays so low that she is able to put in balls like that,” said Doton. “She was in the right position, but she also has the discipline to stay down, so that she can get the shot off quickly.”
The Wasps scored much more quickly in the second half and, once again, it was Brettell who did the honors. But, as is the case in so many team sports, it was the assist that was as important as the goal.
Following yet another penalty corner, freshman Kelly Gebhardt made an outstanding feed to Brettell only four minutes after intermission. “It was just really good placement,” said Brettell. “All I had to do was just hit it in.”
Gebhardt, MacKenzie Yates and the speedy Lilia McCullough really commanded the midfield all afternoon long, allowing the Wasps to have chance after chance. If not for the excellent play in net of Forkin the score might have been much higher. The junior was credited with 11 saves.
“Their goalie really stood on her head,” said Doton. “She was fantastic today.”
After an autumn that has ranged from warm to hot, this game was played on the chilliest afternoon of the season. The early morning high was 52 degrees and the temperature had dropped into the 40 degrees by game time.
“It was really cold out there,” said Brettell. “But at least I was kind of used to it. In the winter I play on the ice on a hockey rink.”
That didn’t make it any easier for the girls who had gotten quite used to above-average temperatures this fall.
“Hitting a ball when it is this cold really kills your hands,” said Doton. “The stick vibrates in the cold so much that it can sting a whole lot. It’s pretty tough conditions to play in.”
By the end of the game Woodstock had a whopping total of 31 penalty corners to just two for the visitors. Yates and Claire Coates both had shots sail just wide following early corners.
“Some of the misses were the result of our not staying on the post or going aggressively after the rebound,” said Brettell. “And sometimes we needed to sprint better after the ball left the circle. Still it was good the way we communicated and passed the ball up the field.”
Woodstock’s domination was so much that goalie Maggie Parker only needed to make one save to earn the shutout.
Ground Balls: The following day Woodstock concluded its home season with a 1-1 tie with Springfield. Maddie Trimpi scored the only goal for the Wasps who trailed 1-0 at halftime. There was plenty of action late in the game, and in the 7-on-7 overtime session, but neither team was able to break the deadlock….. Woodstock now stands at 5-5-3, with its season finale at Mt. Anthony on Thursday, October 20.
This article first appeared in the October 19, 2017 edition of the Vermont Standard.