St. Mary's Ryken field hockey tops Leonardtown

Published by The Enterprise on September 19, 2018

Courtesy of Colin Stoecker

Monday night was a wet and rainy one, but luckily St. Mary's Ryken High School has something that Leonardtown High School does not — a turf field.

The neighboring Raiders succumbed to the Knights, 2-1, as the rain steadily soaked the stands filled with cheering families.

The game was close, and although the Knights seemed to dominate possession of the ball with 13 shots on goal the whole game and 11 penalty corners, the Raiders did their best to catch up.

Leonardtown narrowed the St. Mary's Ryken lead to one goal when forward Olivia Whittington scored with 4 minutes 46 seconds left on the clock in the second half. But the Raiders would get no closer.

"Overall, it went good," St. Mary's Ryken head coach Tara Everly said as her team went to 2-0 overall with the win. "The girls hustled even though the weather was kind of crazy at times. The energy level was good, and it's only our second game. It felt good and it was nice to get the 'W.'"

She added: "[Our scorers] definitely work really hard. They had opportunities, they capitalized on it and kept the pressure up for the rest of the game. We just want to take it one day at a time and hopefully learn and get better each and every day."

Everly was proud of the way that her team worked out on the field Monday night, even though the game wasn't one that counted towards the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference standings, it helped them prepare for the rest of their season.

"We just try to get some local camaraderie and a challenge from across the street," said Everly, whose team has its first WCAC game of the season at 5 p.m. today at home versus Elizabeth Seton of Prince George's County. "A lot of the kids know each other and we travel so far, it's hard to kind of build that rivalry. It's fun to be able to play close to home with people that you've grown up with."

The Knights started out attacking the Raiders goal. In the first minute, senior Jessica Limerick had already tested Leonardtown goalie Sam Wolter. Limerick kept at it and eventually assisted junior Grace Tennyson for the first goal off of a penalty corner just 10 minutes into the game, making the score 1-0 Knights.

"It went really well. We played as a team which was great," Limerick said. "We're hoping to do better in the WCAC. It's always intense and we always want to beat Leonardtown because they're close by, so it's always a little rivalry. I think today we played more as a team, as one unit, which is really important. And we passed a lot better."

During halftime, the Knights swapped out junior goalie Drew Figueiras, who had a shutout with two saves in the first half, with junior Hailey Stack. Stack also had two saves, but let in one blazing fast shot by Whittington in the second half.

Wolter also had a great game with 11 saves. Although her team played a great game on defense, they had trouble converting shots and possession into goals. They only had five shots on goal the whole game and just two penalty corners.

Tennyson capitalized again on a chance to score when Wolter blocked a shot from junior Jamie Kost. She followed up to put her team in the lead 2-0.

Leonardtown did not give up, and even in the rain they kept battling. Forward Dylan Countiss kept getting breakaways on the far right side of the field, continuing to get run down by the Knights defense.

Whittington managed to shoot one past Stack with 4:46 to go to trim the Raiders' deficit to 2-1. Senior Catie Corolla controlled the midfield for the visitors, but with such hard defense on the Knights side, there wasn't much her team could do up front.

"I think we played really well," Corolla said. "It's different for us to play on turf. We always play on grass, so it was a lot faster, and getting used to that was a little challenging. But we adapted to that pretty well. We had no idea how good they were going to be because we haven't played them in so long. We were surprised to have really good competition, but it was good for us."

She added: "I'm just looking forward to having some competitive games coming up and for my last year I really want to win SMAC."

Leonardtown (3-1) battled to score another goal against the rain and a strong Knights defense but was unable to tie the game as the Knights managed to hold off the Raiders and run out the clock.

"It went really well actually. I was really happy with my girls," Leonardtown head coach Amberly Kelley said. "They pushed hard. It was good and there were some calls that were questionable, but it happens. We pushed through it and that's OK. It was great because they haven't played each other in a few years."

Leonardtown is scheduled to be at Chopticon at 4 p.m. Thursday.

"In the SMAC we are doing great. We won all of our games so far," Kelley said. "I'm looking forward to pushing forward and taking some of these other teams and girls by surprise because I think as a team we have been sitting out here so long that I think the girls have worked so hard that I'm looking forward to the season."