- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Calvert junior Amanda Pitcher missed on a glorious scoring opportunity in the second half of Friday’s season opener against visiting Great Mills.
Pitcher atoned for the miss though when she scored on an almost identical play moments later and the host Cavaliers went on to defeat the Hornets, 3-1.
The win was the first career victory for new head coach Kristen Ratcliff, who took over for former head coach Renee Trafton.
“I knew they looked good going into the game, they played really hard during the preseason and there's a lot of team unity in terms of playing together a lot,” Ratcliff said of her team, of which many played travel field hockey during the summer. “They were ready for today and they earned that win.”
Calvert (1-0, 1-0 SMAC) opened the scoring less than a minute into the game and, despite being badly outplayed throughout the game, Great Mills (0-1, 0-1) knotted the score late in the first half.
Pitcher, who set up the first goal, had an excellent chance to put her team ahead when she deflected a shot at the left side of the cage, but Great Mills goalkeeper Erin Feddersen raced back and squeezed the pads to make the save.
Just seconds later, Pitcher had a second identical chance and pushed it past Feddersen for the eventual game-winning goal.
“My first deflection it was like in the air and it kind of popped up and I was really mad she saved it, but it was a good save,” said Pitcher, who added an insurance goal moments later. “The second one was kind of low, so I kind of swept it in and past her.”
Calvert dominated play throughout the game. The Cavaliers held a 26-3 advantage in shots on goal and held a 15-2 edge in penalty corners.
“The first half, that wasn't us, I'm not sure who that was,” Great Mills head coach Michelle Richmond after a lengthy postgame meeting with her team. “Second half was a little better. I don't know. Things we were doing wrong were still doing wrong and we shouldn't be fixing them during a game. I'm aware of our weaknesses and I guess we need to fix them again. I think our defense held us as well as they could, but our transition to offense to create great shots is just not working right now.
Part of it might be my fault, finding the right personnel to get it done, but they've got to commit to making the changes they need to make. Yeah its first game, but we’ll see if they learn from it. I told them, 'This game’s over, we’re done with it, we have to move on and see how we do against Patuxent.’”
Calvert might have reached double digits in scoring had it not been for the stellar play of Feddersen, who made 23 saves, including 13 in the second half.
“Yeah, [I was] pretty much in a zone,” the junior said. “It's much easier to play on the smoother surface because it’s easier to save them and I could see the ball clearly.”
She made the splits to stymie Pitcher in the first half and made a kick save with Calvert’s Sierra Ledda on the doorstep a few moments later.
“The girls noticed the goalie was on early and was pretty much carrying their team,” Ratcliff said.
“She's a good goalie,” Pitcher said, “she made some nice saves.”
But Feddersen, playing in just her second varsity game, saved her best saves for the final 25 minutes. Pitcher had another deflection on an empty cage early in the second half, but Feddersen raced back and made a sliding save that elicited a large cheer from the crowd.
“Erin is the difference in this game,” Richmond said of her goalie, who played junior varsity last year but was brought up to varsity and played in the team’s Class 4A East Region first-round loss to Chesapeake of Anne Arundel County. “Nah, [I’m not surprised], I see her every day in practice, but I'm a little hard-on. She's a gamer, don't get me wrong but we see it in practice, the split saves and her ability to get to the ball. Her ability to get to the ball is excellent. She's the difference in the game today, without her in there ...”
Meanwhile, Pitcher said life is good after the season-opening victory.
“I think we played amazing for our first game,” she said. “We have a new coach this year, but we’re doing very well. We’re like one big family. We really stepped it up.”
Calvert played at Westlake on Tuesday, too late for inclusion into this edition, and will be in action again at 4 p.m. Monday at home versus McDonough.
Great Mills hosts Patuxent at 4 p.m. today.
Calvert 3, Great Mills 1
Great Mills 1 0
Calvert 1 2
Goals: Great Mills (Simmerman); Calvert (Pitcher 2, Ledda)
Saves: Great Mills (Fedderson 23); Calvert (Beavers 3)