When Shay Cannon hits a field hockey ball, it sounds like it has been shot out of a cannon.
“Her shot is so hard. It just goes right past the goalie every time,” Tatnall teammate Elise Brown said. “It’s amazing. All the players and fans are just like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ It’s so cool to see her shot.”
Cannon scored three goals – all on passes from Brown on penalty corners – as fifth-ranked Tatnall defeated A.I. du Pont 3-1 on Saturday morning. The game was part of the three-day Turf Bowl at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium.
“Elise was hitting the balls out so well – flat, hard balls getting there quickly,” Hornets coach Jackie Ciconte said. “Shay has a great reception and a great release. If you give her time to find a hole in the corner of the cage, she’s going to find it.”
Cannon found it for the first time just 4:26 into the game, crushing a low laser that produced a loud bang when it hit the back of the cage.
“I realized I had enough time to take the shot myself, because there wasn’t a defender coming to pressure me right away,” Cannon said. “It worked every time.”
Brown and Cannon made it work again exactly 11 minutes later to give Tatnall a 2-0 lead.
“It seems like it’s very easy. You just hit it out and hit it back in,” Brown said. “But it actually takes a lot of precise work. You have to hit it right to Shay, and Shay has to get a perfect shot off because there are four defenders running right at her.”
The Tigers (8-5-1) began to concentrate on stopping Cannon on the corners but let their guard down one more time in the 34th minute. The Hornets (11-2) executed it perfectly, and Cannon made it 3-0.
“We spend so much time on corners,” Brown said. “One practice, someone was counting and they said, ‘We just did 105 corners in a row.’ It’s hard work, but it pays off in the end.”
Brown’s primary role is on defense, and she frustrated many A.I. du Pont attacks by quickly getting back to knock the ball away.
“She has great control, and she’s so feisty out there,” Ciconte said of Brown. “She’s all over the place. She knows how to push up, and she knows how to drop. I just can’t say enough about her.”
The Tigers had their chances, actually outshooting Tatnall 9-8. Stephanie Davis scored A.I. du Pont’s goal with 27 seconds remaining.