Edward Little’s Anna LeBlanc and Oxford Hills’ Julia Colby collide while chasing the ball during Tuesday afternoon’s matchup in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — A battle usually ensues when Oxford Hills and Edward Little meet on the field hockey field.
Tuesday afternoon was no different. The Vikings defeated the Red Eddies 1-0, the lone score coming when Margaret Hartnett found the back of the cage with 4:16 remaining in the first half.
The goal, which deflected off Edward Little goaltender Elise Syphers’ pads, came on the Vikings’ fifth corner of the half.
Hartnett was playing an unfamiliar position on the corners Tuesday. She is used to playing at the on the top of the circle, but instead she was put in position to be closer to the rebounds of the initial shot off the corner.
“Lauren (Merrill) has been practicing those hits, and she executes them really well every time,” Hartnett said. “I was playing a different position than I am usually playing, so I was thinking I had to step up into that position for my team. Lauren had a really good hit (off the corner), and I knew I had to try to get a shot off.”
Hartnett said the Vikings wanted to keep the ball in the circle longer on that corner than they had the previous four.
The goal was the payoff for the Vikings’ (2-0) hard work in the opening half, during which they controlled the majority of the possession time and outshot the Red Eddies 10-0.
Edward Little only had three corners in the first half and had a hard time getting the momentum in its favor.
“We were trying to change fields as often as possible, but it’s easier said than done,” Red Eddies coach Kim Joler said.
Joler credited the defense for keeping the team in the game for the first 30 minutes, and for not allowing the deficit to become more than one goal.
The offense came to life for the Red Eddies (1-1) for about 10 minutes in the second half when they were able to flip the field and give the defense a break. They had another three corners in the second half, but couldn’t generate much offense off of them.
“Our corners, they fell a little short today,” Joler said. “We got some practice to do on that, but it’s OK, we will put the effort into it.”
The Redd Eddies outshot the Vikings 5-4 in the second half.
Oxford Hill coach Cynthia Goddard was pleased with the Vikings’ defensive effort in the second half, especially knowing that Edward Little was going to go on a run.
“It’s always a battle, they are a good team, they work hard and, no question, it’s never an easy game, that’s for sure,” Goddard said. “They had opportunities at the end, there was a couple times (the ball) crossed in front of the goal cage and they had a chance to finish it too.”
Edward Little’s Courtney Larson hits the ball towards Oxford Hills’ Kate Bowen during Tuesday afternoon’s field hockey game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Edward Little’s Miranda Chadbourne and Oxford Hills’ Kori Kahkonen struggle for control of the ball during Tuesday afternoon’s field hockey game in auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)