NANUET – When the Pearl River junior varsity field hockey team scored early on in its game against Nanuet Friday, its varsity barely looked up.
And no one smiled.
Minutes earlier, Pearl River’s and Nanuet’s varsities battled to a 0-0 tie. But after Nanuet came on very strong in the second half of the first half, the second half belonged to the Pirates – everywhere but on the scoreboard.
“We’re not driving to the goal and taking the shot. We have the talent. We just need the seasoning,” Pearl River co-coach Tracey Miller said.
Pearl River had 10 penalty corners to Nanuet’s 0 in the second half after the Golden Knights had an 8-1 first-half PC advantage.
“I thought we had it in the first half,” Nanuet senior midfielder Corrine Berkery said. “I really thought we’d score off one of those corners.”
But neither team tested the opposing goalie much.
That was in large part due to both sporting shut-down, bend-but-don’t-break defenses Friday.
Player of the game: Ally Tarsnane had a bunch of defensive stops for the Pirates and midfielder Elizabeth Gilbride created many of the Pirates’ chances with good stops and feeds.
Nanuet’s Caeleigh Ryan had a huge defensive game, in part stripping the ball from Pearl River in front of her net just five minutes into the second half.
But despite that and powerful lead passes by Berkery, Nanuet was kept at bay.
Turning point: One of Nanuet’s best chances occurred with 3:52 left in the first half, while it was dominating. But defenseman Annie Dolan stopped a potential breakaway.
Kelly Ann Henry and Megan Foiles also had a couple of key stops.
For Nanuet, Lisa Clarke’s pick-off of a corner pass with 6:25 left and the Pirates having the momentum was key, along with multiple interceptions by Ryan.
Stat line: The story of the game boils down to this: Pearl River goalie Kerry Gettler had three saves – all in the first half. And Nanuet netminder Jenna Franchino never had to touch the ball.
Quotables: Nanuet coach Jackie Cross, whose team is 2-2-1, said, “I’m not disappointed at all. After the first 10 minutes we picked up and showed we can hang for quite a while.”
She was happy with her team’s defense but said it needs to work on stick-handling, particularly on grass, which is its home surface.
Miller also pointed to the Pirates (0-2-1) as being strong defensively, even after running a different defensive style this year after graduating nine starters.
“I’m excited for the team,” Miller said. “As long as they keep growing and developing as players, that’s all we can hope for.”