Wasps’ fast start too much for OV stickers

BRANDON — The visiting Woodstock Wasps came out flying on Monday and dealt the Otter Valley Union High School field hockey team its first Division II loss of the year, 3-0.
Woodstock (4-3) dominated the first 20 minutes of the game and scored at 21:28 and 16:11 as the Otters seemed unable, at least early on, to match the Wasps’ determination.
The Otters (4-3-1) countered and controlled the final 10 minutes of the first half and long stretches of the second half, earning an 11-4 overall edge in penalty corners.
First-year OV coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell noted both the slow start and the strong finish to the first half, and at halftime told her team that surge was what they should focus on.
“That’s what I was hoping for. We came in and I told the girls that was your game,” Edmunds-Brickell said. “We’re still trying to harness that energy and funnel it into 60 minutes of play time. It seems like we have peaks and valleys when we play.”
With junior forward Brittany Bushey and sophomore forward Jenna Elliot leading the charge, OV then earned a 6-0 advantage in second-half penalty corners, but the Wasps launched all three of their second-half shots in one sequence. Despite the fact that senior OV goalie Sam Patch (five stops) did well to stop the first two, the Wasps also got to the third rebound to take their insurmountable 3-0 lead at 25:18.
Back in the first half, the hustling Wasps also took the lead on a rebound goal. Patch kicked away a 15-foot bid, but Hannah Tobey, a thorn in the Otters’ side all game, tucked home the rebound in the ninth minute.
The next goal came after OV failed to clear decisively. Wasp Delaney Little picked up the loose ball on the left side of the circle and worked it out front to Sam Harrington, who tucked it in the far corner in the 14th minute.
OV began to assert itself a few minutes later, and earned four penalty corners in the final 11 minutes. Defenders Olivia Bloomer, Meranda Bassette and Danarose Weaver started to step up aggressively to break up the Wasps; midfielders Laura Roberts and Maia Edmunds set up attacks; and Bushey, Emily Lowell and Elliot pressed the Wasp backline.
But Wasp goalie Emma Astbury (seven saves) denied Bushey and Kylee Bissette on a late corner, and stopped an Elliott shot on a near breakaway; good hustle by Jackie Davenport hurried that shot at the last second. Wasp defender Holly Olson also broke up a number of OV thrusts.
After the break, Little made it 3-0 after Patch twice denied Tobey from point-blank range. After that the best OV bids came on a screened Bushey shot that Astbury kicked away and on a strong Elliot serve from the right side that the OV forwards couldn’t quite tip home.
OV got some potentially tough news when Lowell, a junior who has scored well this season, went down with an apparent knee injury late in the game and had to be helped off the field.
The Otters’ two previous setbacks had come to D-I teams Rutland and Hartford, and their tie came against Rutland. Edmunds-Brickell remains optimistic about their season.
“We have a great group of girls, and I think they have talent and energy,” she said. “It’s just a matter of being able to pull it all together and being able to offer something consistent every time we show up to play. But I feel good about it, and I have hope the girls are going to continue to play to improve and get stronger with every game.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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