The Rutland field hockey players were not happy with their performance in a 3-1 loss to Otter Valley on Saturday. They came back strong with a dominant performance in Monday’s 5-0 victory over Springfield.
Mary Sutton was one of the leaders with two goals. It was the first multiple-goal game of the junior’s career.
“There was a lot of team bonding (after the loss),” Sutton said. “We looked at each other and we all knew that is not how we play. We wanted to show our fans that we are better than that.”
Sutton felt the soul searching manifested itself on the field against the Cosmos.
“There was a lot more positive energy today from all of us,” Sutton said.
Positive energy is what Springfield first-year coach Steve Lawrence is all about. He wants his Cosmos to keep playing and to stay positive despite the score. He felt he got that from them in this game.
“Our scorekeeper noted that this was the second game in a row where we came out stronger in the second half,” Lawrence said.
The victory hiked the Raiders’ record to 3-3-1 and the Cosmos dipped to 0-4.
Katie Sunderland got the scoring started after 2:40 had elapsed, Stefanie Allen earning the assist.
Gianna Pezzetti scored less than five minutes into the game and Sutton’s first goal came with 18:25 still remaining in the half. That score was set up by some outstanding passing all the way down the field.
The Raiders took that 3-0 lead into the half.
But if the Raiders thought the goals were going to come easy on this day they were mistaken.
Springfield junior goalie Anna Church, fresh off a 30-plus-save performance against Bellows Falls, proved difficult to solve. The Raiders lived on her doorstep but Church turned away shot after shot, some of them in rapid succession.
Lawrence credited assistant coach Jenna Young Starr with developing Church into a top-notch goalkeeper.
Starr was the hero of the Vermont team that defeated New Hampshire by a goal in the 1991 Twin State Game, making a highlight-reel kick save to preserve the victory for coach Marilyn Gray’s team in a game played at Castleton.
The Raiders kept attacking with gusto after the half. Haley Lassen helped trigger runs with her crisp hits and players like Kaylee Kosmalski, sisters Jenna and Katie Sunderland, Luci Horrocks and Alexis Patterson kept applying pressure. The Raiders were shooting and earning corners.
But there was always Church as that last line of defense and she was tough.
Sutton broke through for her second goal with 12:38 remaining.
Then Patterson knocked one in with 1:33 to go with Jenna Sunderland picking up the assist.
“She was really good. She helped them a lot,” Rutland coach Karen Poljacik said of Church.
The Cosmos mustered little in the way of an attack but they had their spurts when Hailey Perham and Natalia Dorcely worked plays that helped the Cosmos reach the circle.
Jessica Ebbighausen and Zoey Urich shared the shutout, each playing a half in the goal.
“We had a long talk after the Otter Valley game,” Poljacik said. “We played much better today. I think this is just what we needed.”
The Cosmos hope to break through on Wednesday when Fair Haven comes to Porter Field.
Rutland has a tough test on Burr and Burton Academy’s turf field on Friday.
The Raiders are 0-1 on turf, falling 2-0 at South Burlington.