Overtime goal lifts Otter field hockey over Harwood
BRANDON — Going into Thursday’s home Division II quarterfinal, Otter Valley Union High School junior Allison Lowell had scored in every one of the OV field hockey team’s games this fall except one.
Senior midfielder Maia Edmunds had assisted many of Lowell’s goals. Meanwhile, junior goalie Myliah McDonough had made more than 100 saves.
Given all that, when the No. 2 Otters and No. 7 Harwood entered overtime on Friday in a scoreless tie, maybe the outcome was inevitable.
With just less than a minute gone in overtime, Lowell burst into the Harwood circle. As she had all game long, Lowell forced a penalty corner, the Otters’ 15th, to three for the 6-5-2 Highlanders. Harwood then committed a foul, and the Otters reset for their 16th, and final, corner.
Junior Courtney Bushey, stationed to the right of the goal, rolled a firm pass into Edmunds at the top of the circle. Edmunds made a nifty move around the Harwood flyer and pushed the ball to Lowell, cutting across from left to right.
Neither the closest defender nor goalie Quillyn Peterson had a chance as Lowell whipped the ball back into the right side of the goal.
OV had won, 1-0, 1:14 into overtime; improved to 10-2-3; and advanced to meet No. 3 Burr & Burton (9-3-2) in a 6 p.m. semifinal on Monday at Castleton University.
Lowell said she always believed the Otters would pull it out, even though her game-winner was only the second shot the Harwood defense had allowed on Peterson despite OV’s many corners and territorial advantage.
“I knew we were outplaying them most of the game. We just had to get our sticks on the ball,” Lowell said. “We pulled it out in overtime and scored, which was great.”
And she credited Edmunds, as usual.
“She’s an awesome midfielder,” Lowell said. “She’s really good at seeing the field.”
An OV defense keyed by Meghan Hallett in the middle and Sophia Bloomer and Courtney Randall on the flanks also played well, allowing just four shots on McDonough.
But the goalie was tested. In the first minute, Harwood wing Lauren McMann, just off the right post, lofted a shot over McDonough’s head. But McDonough swatted the ball away with her blocker.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Harwood counterattacked against heavy Otter pressure — OV had four corners in the first 10 minutes of the half, and Peterson denied Lowell for her only save.
The OV backs stepped up to break up the rush near midfield, but the Highlanders tapped the ball past them. Three of them broke into the OV circle with the Otters in hot pursuit. But McDonough came out to challenge the play, with a weak shot that she kicked way being the result.
Lowell described that anxious moment.
“She always seems to get the save,” Lowell said. “I was counting on her to get that, but I was also hoping some of our defense would get back first.”
OV coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell said she would have liked more production from the penalty corners, but was pleased with her team’s overall play.
“I thought we played very well and dominated big stretches of the game. It just took us a while to get one in,” Edmunds-Brickell said.
In their Monday semifinal, the Otters will face Burr & Burton, a team they defeated on the road on Sept. 22, 1-0. The Bulldogs play on a turf field, and Lowell said OV will try to get accustomed to turf before Monday.
“We’re getting some practice time on the turf,” she said. “We’ll learn how the ball moves, and I’m hoping we’ll come out with a win there, too. I’m confident we will.”
No. 1 U-32 (14-1) and No. 4 Mount Abe (5-6-2) will meet in the other semifinal, and the final will be played at the University of Vermont on Saturday.
Edmunds-Brickell said she has faith her team will be making a trip to Burlington.
“We’ll go in knowing we’ll have to work as hard as we did today, but I certainly know we can beat them,” she said, adding, “This is a small team with a lot of heart and a lot of spirit. And they love this game.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]