LISBON — Entering Wednesday’s Mountain Valley Conference field hockey game against the Winthrop Ramblers, a win for the Lisbon Greyhounds was of vital importance.
Sitting at No. 2 in the Western Class C Heal Point standings, the Greyhounds were just decimal points ahead of No. 3 ranked Yarmouth and needed another victory to stand their ground.
After defeating Winthrop (6-4-3) earlier in the season, 3-1 on Sept. 22, Lisbon was the favorite entering into the contest, but the Ramblers showed other intentions almost immediately in the first half.
With only seven minutes off the clock, the Ramblers’ Emily Molino accepted a pass from Kat Hajduk on the right side of the box and tucked it into the corner for the first shot and the first goal, putting Winthrop up 1-0.
Four minutes later, Greyhounds coach Julie Petrie called a timeout and expressed her discontent with her team’s style of play.
“I didn’t think we were working hard enough in the first half,” Petrie said. “We’re very much a passing team, but when we revert back to just hitting the ball we become tired and frustrated.”
Though coming up short of a scoring chance the rest of the half, the ’Hounds started to pull things together in the final five minutes, swinging the momentum in their favor.
“I think it just sunk in that we really needed to want it,” Greyhounds midfielder Ari Kahler said of the change in her team’s mentality. “We’re a team that has a lot of skill, and sometimes we rely too much on that skill and not on the hustle.”
The hustle arrived for Lisbon (12-1) with 23:28 left to play.
Lisbon thought it had tied the game off of a penalty corner, but the goal was negated due to the shot coming from outside the circle. Seconds later, Chase Collier picked up a loose ball and fired it past Winthrop netminder Corinna Coulton to tie the game at one.
“Once we started passing, we could transfer the ball up the field and be at the spots we were supposed to be,” Petrie said.
Lisbon’s offense took over the rest of play, creating quality scoring chances throughout the half, including two shots by Kahler that were blocked after taking it in on a breakaway.
With only 5:50 remaining, the Greyhounds stormed the Ramblers net. Molly Nicholson fired a shot off the pads of Coulton. Kahler was there on the follow-up, giving the Greyhounds the lead and eventually the win.
Lisbon has one game remaining in the regular season, with unbeaten and Western C No. 1 Oak Hill (12-0-1) visiting on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Petrie states that her team has what it takes to come out big.
“The fact that we did finish today when we needed to and the fact that Winthrop just held Oak Hill to a 0-0 tie puts things in perspective,” she said. “If we work hard the whole game, it will be a good game, versus if we start out slow it could be an ugly game.”