The field hockey season has been a frustrating one for Warwick Vets. The ’Canes have been in nearly every game but scored only 11 goals all year.
Friday’s game against Cranston East was among the most frustrating.
The ’Canes had chance after chance in the first half but couldn’t capitalize a single time, and the ’Bolts made it hurt. Beatrix Kanno scored a goal 3:13 into sudden-death overtime to break a scoreless tie and lift East to a 1-0 victory.
“It was a very frustrating game,” Vets head coach Jim Areson said. “Particularly in the first half and the first 15 minutes, we completely dominated. We weren’t able to score. We had plenty of opportunities to score. The other team gets a little confidence and we paid for it at the end.”
East’s victory muddies an already cloudy Division II playoff picture. Vets is in second place in D-II-South with seven points at 2-5-3, while East is in fourth with six points at 3-7. Chariho also has seven points.
Rocky Hill leads the division with eight points. All five teams in D-II-North have at least nine points. Right now, Vets has the seventh-most points in D-II.
“They still kind of have their destiny in their own hands,” Areson said.
The loss to East could end up being a big one.
“We want to have a postseason,” East head coach Sarah Knowlton said. “I said in the beginning, we’ve got to take it one game at a time, but they’ve really improved.”
Vets had the ’Bolts on the ropes early. In the sixth minute, it took a penalty corner and Savannah Hersey ripped a shot on goal, but East goalie Shoshana Adler managed to kick it away. She made another kick save on Hersey less than a minute later, and then kicked yet another one out when Emily Furtado found Alliston Stopyra by the net on a counter-attack in the 10th minute.
A minute later, Hersey put another shot on goal, and in the 15th minute the team couldn’t score on a ball that bounced around in the middle following a penalty corner. In the 21st minute, Hersey took a shot that Adler saved with her chest pad, and an ensuing penalty corner produced nothing.
All those chances went for naught.
“If we had scored, it would have changed the whole complexion of the game,” Areson said. “Then you kind of give the other team a little faith.”
East found its groove soon afterwards. The ’Bolts went on the offensive, and essentially had it that way for the remainder of the game.
Kanno put a shot on net in the 28th minute on a penalty corner, and then she hit the post after a pass from Isabella LeClair on another penalty corner.
Vets was back on its heels.
“Warwick Vets has always been a very physical team,” Knowlton said. “There’s a lot of distractions, especially when you play them at their own field. You can get kind of lost in the shuffle. It was really important at the beginning of the game to tell them to block everything out. After they did that and focused on the game, it was just a matter of finding a goal.”
The game continued that way in the second half. East held play from the get-go, as Vets needed a kick save from goalie Naomi Franzen in the second minute and had to thwart off 10 penalty corners over the next 18 minutes.
When the ’Canes did get a chance, as there did in the 52nd minute when Hersey dribbled from midfield straight to the goal, Adler was there for the save. She made 16 on the day.
“My goalie had probably the best game I’ve ever seen her play,” Knowlton said. “She’s really come into her own. She’s improved tremendously throughout the course of the season, and I think today she kind of set the tone for everything.”
Late in the half, East had two more penalty corners but came up empty, and Vets had one in the 57th minute, but Hersey took another shot that skipped wide.
That brought on overtime, and East wasted little time getting the knockout blow. Kanno took a long pass near midfield and raced behind the defense with possession. She fired a shot toward Franzen from a few yards away and the ball clipped the goalie but still found its way into the goal for the game-winner.
“The kid that scored, Beatrix, she’s a very good player,” Areson said. “That was a real nice goal. She did everything right.”
It was another frustrating outcome for the ’Canes. All five of the team’s losses have come by a single goal.
“It was just a funny game in general,” Areson said. “It was played slow, I’ve got kids missing so we’re playing out of position. It was very frustrating.”
That said, there is still time to turn it around. Vets has a big game today at Chariho at 3:45 p.m., and the winner of that one will have a leg up in the playoff race. After that, Vets is at Rocky Hill on Friday at 4 p.m. and then at home against winless Toll Gate next Wednesday to end the regular season.