Field hockey: Mustangs out Falcons in semifinals

Joel Barlow High’s Rachel Lenihan guides the ball downfield during a South-West Conference field hockey semifinal game on Sunday, Nov. 4. Barlow lost 3-1 to Immaculate.—Scott Mullin photo

Ignited after defeating New Fairfield in the South-West Conference quarterfinals, the Joel Barlow High field hockey team challenged New Milford in the semifinals on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Having pulled off one upset in the playoffs, the Falcons were intent on another, scoring first in the contest. However, the defending champ Green Wave responded in time, putting three unanswered goals on the board for a 3-1 on the artificial turf at Immaculate High.

Barlow center midfielder Courtney Granfors knocked the ball up into Green Wave territory, clearing the path for a fierce Falcon attack. Forwards Emma Coppock and Kerianne Gibney chewed through New Milford defenders, achieving vital offensive corners. With 7:16 left on the clock in the first half, Coppock smashed the ball past the cage to Gibney, who netted it, setting the lead 1-0.

A poised New Milford team responded with a solid offensive attack and seconds later knocked the ball in Barlow’s net. The first half ended in a 1-1 stalemate.

When play resumed senior midfielder Gabrielle Fignar weaved the ball up the right sideline and dished to junior wing Isabel Benedetto, who flung the ball into the Green Wave’s circle. Although Barlow controlled the first few minutes, New Milford struck back and gained three consecutive offensive corners, shocking the Falcon defensive line.

With 20 minutes remaining in the match, New Milford hammered the ball into Barlow’s cage. The score stayed put at 2-1 for the next eighteen minutes. Senior sweep Colleen Yost flanked by senior Rachel Lenihan and junior Whitney Carter battled in the Falcon circle, edging the ball away from Barlow’s end and toward the Green Wave cage. Goalie Samantha Scavo kept the ball from entering her net.

A lapse in Barlow’s attack presented the Green Wave with a scoring opportunity with 1:21 left on the clock, ending the hope for an overtime battle.

Barlow looks forward to its first state Class M game match up on Friday.

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