'Canes just miss out on first win
On Monday afternoon, twenty-seven minutes stood between the Warwick Vets field hockey team and its first win since 2009. The countdown trickled all the way to 14 seconds, but unfortunately for the âCanes, thatâs where it stopped.
Cranston Eastâs Michelle Nunez scored the game-tying goal with 14 seconds left in the second half, and the âBolts then won in overtime to hand the âCanes a heartbreaking 2-1 loss. Vets, which is back in Division II after two rough years in D-I, dropped to 0-4.
Success is surely coming soon. It just didnât happen Monday.
âThey gave it their all, but we havenât won in two years, and when thatâs the situation, youâve really got to learn how to win,â said Vets head coach Jim Areson. âWe scored early in the second half, and then we literally tightened up. They said to themselves, âWeâre not going to lose this game,â instead of going out and winning the game. Itâs all part of the process right now.â
Thatâs another in a line of lessons the âCanes have learned this season. They lost their first game 2-0 and have since lost the last three by 2-1 margins.
Itâs about getting over the hump.
âThey have to realize they can win games now,â Areson said. âThat has to be their mentality.â
The âCanes were in prime position to win Mondayâs game. After a scoreless first half, they broke through with three minutes gone in the second. Lauren Enos passed to Savannah Hersey on a penalty corner and she moved the ball along to Jenna OâConnell in the middle. OâConnell slipped it to Julie Ye on the far post, and Ye punched a shot into the cage for the 1-0 lead.
Instead of seizing the momentum, though, the âCanes went backwards.
The âBolts controlled a large part of the action after the goal. For a while, it looked like they would come up empty, but they got a chance when they were awarded consecutive penalty corners in the final minute. On the second, Beatrix Kanno dodged one defender but had the ball poked away by Samantha Harris. A scramble ensued and the ball eventually found its way to the stick of Nunez, who muscled it past goalie Naomi Franzen to tie the game.
âI have a ton of scrappy players on my team,â said East coach Sarah Knowlton said. âThey have an amazing ability to put the ball where it needs to be.â
The goal from Nunez set up a 10-minute overtime period featuring seven-on-seven play, instead of the usual 11-on-11.
Neither team could get control in the early part of the overtime period, but the âBolts established possession in their end and went to work. A deflected shot led to a penalty corner. East didnât get a shot off, but another violation gave East another corner. This time, Molly Maguire pushed the ball to Kanno, who then slipped a pass back to the left, where Taylor Burns was camped out on the post. She settled the ball, took the shot and beat Franzen for the game-winner.
âWe set up the corner where Molly passes it all the way to the other side and I set up on post,â Burns said. âBeatrix did what she was supposed to do, she passed it right to the post. Luckily I got it right in there.â
While the goals completed the comeback, it was Eastâs response to falling behind that set the stage. Instead of packing it in after Vets went up 1-0, East dominated the action in the second half. Vets didnât have another quality chance, and most of the action happened in Eastâs offensive end.
âGive all the credit to Cranston East,â said Vets head coach Jim Areson. âThey decided they were going to battle, and they didnât stop. Some teams would sulk after giving up a goal there, but they didnât.â
And Vets didnât do enough to turn the tide.
âItâs easier said than done, but theyâve got to literally relax and just play the game,â Areson said. âThey canât worry about making mistakes and things like that. If we had kept the ball down their end, it would have been a different story. We just sat back. Thatâs something theyâve got to work on.â
Itâs all part of the process as the âCanes try to understand the bottom line. In Division I, it often didnât matter what they did â the leagueâs powerhouses just had too much. Now, the âCanes are capable.
âI keep telling them, âEverybody in this league is just like us. They all picked up the stick at the same time,ââ Areson said. âSo it comes down to effort and desire. In this division, thatâs the difference. If you physically want it more than the other team, youâre going to win nine times out of 10.â
The âCanes will continue their quest when they host Cumberland on Friday at 4 p.m. Theyâll visit Toll Gate on Monday at 3:45 p.m.
âWeâre there,â Areson said. âItâs just little things now. They need to play with more intensity and more desire. I really feel weâre going to be a lot better in the second half of the season. Hopefully, itâll work out that way.â