Above: Layla Johnson plays the “air stick” celebrating the win. Photo by Chuck Nadeau
By Tommy Sprague
The Avengers hosted the Moses Brown Quakers on Monday night for the second time this season. East Greenwich lost the first contest 3-1, their first game of the 2023 season. Seeking to avenge that loss, and the heartbreaking loss to MB in last year’s Division I title game last November, the team took to the turf at Carcieri Field believing that they could pull off a big win.
Tensions were high for both teams as the sun set and the lights went on. The student section came out in full force, as did many youth field hockey league players and their families, bringing the energy the girls needed to get off to a good start.
In the first quarter the teams got reoriented with each other’s exceptional speed and skill with what was mostly a defensive battle on both ends of the field. EG and MB both had their share of penalty corner opportunities, but it was Moses Brown that took advantage first, scoring in the final minute of the first quarter.
As the second quarter began, the Avengers picked up their offensive play out matching MB’s shots on goal. In the 12th minute, the Quakers were charged with a penalty stroke for a deliberate infringement in the penalty circle, preventing the Avengers goal opportunity. This gave EG a direct one-on-one shot against the Quaker’s goalie. Coach McMullen gave that responsibility to veteran junior Ellie Picard, who lifted her shot in the top right corner of the cage to tie the game 1-1, giving the Avengers momentum going into the second half.
After a much-needed fifteen minute halftime break, the Avengers came out on a mission, their expertly coordinated defensive attack on full display. Led by senior cp-captain Catherine Neville, senior Sachi Chan and sophomore Lia Cameron, the Quakers’ advances were stymied. They turned the ball over to EG’s aggressive midfield line where the junior juggernaut of Maeve Kiernan, Ellie Picard, and Catherine Sprague pressed the MB defense, and were rewarded with penalty corner opportunities. In the 8th minute of the 3rd quarter EG capitalized on their second corner with an amazing shot by Junior Olivia Prior in the bottom left corner narrowly evading a save by the MB goalie and gaining the lead – one that would stick – against the Quakers.
Moses Brown continued their attack in the 4th quarter, however EG’s defense remained poised and goalie Layla Cameron took care of any ball that managed to get by them. It was now time for the Avengers to close things out. MB had multiple corner penalty opportunities in the closing minutes of the game that the EG flyers, namely Maeve Kiernan, senior co-captain Margaret Neville and Ellie Picard effectively squashed. However, the Quakers had, what was thought at the time, one last corner with seconds left in the game. Fans and players braced with what could put the game into overtime, but the Quakers could not connect and the cheers from both the EG team and fans erupted believing the game to be over.
With people beginning to leave the stadium, the referees flagged EG with an infraction with no time on the clock. MB would have one last chance to score. The EG fans were in disbelief but the players quickly regrouped and executed as they had all game, stopping the Quakers final attempt of the evening. With the final score of 2-1, the Avengers ended Moses Brown’s season 6-0 winning and shut-out streak. This was a statement win for the team and an exciting game to watch. Thank you to all the EG students and fans that showed up to support this amazing team. The Avengers face off next against the Lincoln School away on Wednesday. Their home game against LaSalle on Thursday is a Pink Out where the team will sell baked goods and other treats to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research. Please make every effort to attend Thursday’s match up.
Below: Ellie Picard scores after a Moses Brown earned a penalty stroke.
Tommy Sprague is a team parent. Our thanks to him for covering Girls LAX. EG News is looking for similarly motivated sports enthusiasts to help us cover other EG sports. If you are interested, contact [email protected]. It’s a lot of fun!