Becca Shroder scored with just 52 seconds left in overtime to lift the South Windsor High field hockey team to a 2-1 victory over Northwest Catholic at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield on Friday afternoon.
It was a just result for South Windsor (2-1), which dominated large swaths of the match. Indeed, the Bobcats earned 29 penalty corners to Northwest Catholic’s one.
If there ever was a crucial victory in the third game of the season, this was it for the Bobcats.
“We needed that, especially after Friday’s game [a tough 3-1 loss to Hall],” said South Windsor head coach Jen Bolduc. “We were really down on ourselves; we really didn’t look like a team. It looked like 11 individuals on the field. Today we looked like a team. We needed that coming together.”
On the other part of the sideline, Northwest Catholic head coach William Mullady praised his team’s performance in the loss.
“For us, this is a victory,” he said. “This is only going to make us stronger as the season goes on. The girls should hold their heads high.”
The Bobcats started out well, holding possession for most of the first half. Their hard work paid off in the form of a goal by Angie King, who lofted a hard shot past Northwest Catholic goalie Christine Wilson to give South Windsor a 1-0 lead with 24:44 left in the half.
But the Indians (2-0-0-1) were nothing if not resilient, as Wilson made eight crucial saves in the game and defenders Erin Curley, Caila Denno and Amanda Waltman along with midfielder Jessica Jordanno frustrated the Bobcats’ attack for much of the match.
The Bobcats’ midfield was terrific in advancing the ball, while Jen Neri, acting as a sweeper, did a terrific job keeping the Indians away from the attack.
The Indians came back fired up after the interval and took advantage of the Bobcats’ inability to score a second goal, as Madison Mortillaro leveled the match at 1-1 on a counterattack with 27:27 left in regulation.
The Northwest Catholic goal appeared to stun the Bobcats for several minutes, as they fell back on their heels. The Indians were the aggressor for several more minutes before the Bobcats righted their ship.
Still, despite knocking on the door in front of the Indians’ cage, the South Windsor could not manage to score the go-ahead goal.
In the 10 minute, 7-on-7 overtime, Northwest Catholic went down a player after she earned a yellow card with 6:37 remaining. Nevertheless, the Indians’ defense remained stout.
King hit the crossbar with 1:38, further sealing the notion that the game would end level.
“I was so excited, then I said, ‘Darn!’ I thought we won,” Bolduc said.
But that changed in swift and stunning fashion, as Shroder calmly stroked the game-winner with just under a minute remaining.
The Bobcats bench exploded onto the field in celebration of a hard-fought, well-earned victory.
“To see their reaction with less than a minute to go. … I’m very proud of them,” Bolduc said.