Otter field hockey fights back for tie

BRANDON — Although Coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell said her Otter Valley Union High School field hockey team did not play its best on Saturday, the Otters rallied late for a 3-3 tie against visiting Windsor, at 8-3-1 Division III’s top team.
The 9-2-2 Otters will enter the D-I playoffs as the No. 3 seed and will host No. 6 Mount Abraham (4-6-4) this weekend.
Edmunds-Brickell said she expects the Otters — who earlier dealt Windsor two of its three losses — to compete well in the postseason.
 “We’ve had some great moments on the field, and we’ll continue to have some more,” she said. “We had an off day today and didn’t get to show people what we’re capable of. But we have some skill.”
The Otters graduated eight starters from the 2016 squad and have only two seniors, forwards Katie Coolidge and Chelsea Reed.
“I don’t think anybody expected us to come back and have the ability to do this. We’re so young. But they’re really a cohesive team,” Edmunds-Brickell said. “They like each other. They work hard together.”
Windsor led by Angelina Bigwood, Hannah Wood, Alyssa Slocum and Kaili Bennett, controlled the first half, but Windsor goalie Glenna Ricard (four saves) had to stop an early breakaway by OV leading scorer Alia Edmunds and later denied Reed and Coolidge on OV’s only corner of the half.
Bigwood scored the half’s only goal at 19:39, rapping one in from close range on a Bennett feed. OV goalie Ellie Ross and central defender Gabriella LaGrange did good work to limit the first-half damage.
After the break Ross (five saves) stopped a point-blank Bigwood bid, and the Jacks earned three of their 14 corners (to six for OV). But the Otters countered with a rush, and Edmunds flicked a ball from the top of the circle that bounced home to make it 1-1 at 22:33.
Windsor answered with two quick goals. Wood fed Slocum for the first, and Wood tapped home a rebound at 18:25 after both Ross and OV defender Jadynn Pope stopped shots. Ross made a great kick save on Ashley Grela soon afterward.
Finally the Otters began to beat the Jacks to the ball and link up better. At 15:47 center middie Sophie Markowski found the right side of the goal after taking a Reed penalty corner insert, and at 4:41 Morgan LaPorte tipped in Isabella Falco’s long serve into the box.
Neither team had great chances the rest of the way, thanks in part to good overtime defense from LaGrange and Markowski.
In all, OV’s off day was not for lack of effort, Edmunds-Brickell said.
“They worked hard. It wasn’t because they didn’t want it, and now we’ve had three great games with this team,” she said. “They’re a very good team. We’ve enjoyed playing them.”

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