Shawna Nelson has big day with five goals
The DCVI field hockey team hosted Stratford Northwestern and Clinton St. Anne’s on Oct. 15 in Huron-Perth League play.
In the opener against the Huskies, Salukis immediately put the pressure on, but a much improved NWSS defensive unit kept St. Marys from scoring early in the game. At the other end of the field, Sophie Brockman and Maddison Aarts, playing the defensive sweeper role, all but eliminated any Huskie offensive threat, picking up through balls and sending them back into the DCVI attack.
Shawna Nelson was the first to score for St. Marys, just seven minutes into the half. Nelson, after working the ball in front of the NW netminder, then powered it past her, in what would eventually be the game-winning goal.
Nelson was also instrumental in setting up the second goal when she sent a great pass across the striking circle to Emily Shrubsole, who connected with a well-timed shot to make it 2-0.
When Salukis were awarded a rare penalty stroke, Ally Muir stepped in and with her great top shelf shot, St. Marys was firmly in control of the match.
Sophie Shrubsole, playing her position perfectly, was waiting for her chance to score when Muir sent her a pass across the net. Shrubsole’s goal was a textbook play and Salukis went into the half-time break up 4-0.
The second half continued to see DCVI dominate much of the play, but goalie Kayley Thompson was called upon to make a few stops en route to her fourth shutout of the season.
Great midfield play by Emmah Douglas and Edyn Taylor gave St. Marys the control they needed to determine the play and outcome of the game. Mae Vigneux saw her debut in league play and worked hard as a striker to contribute to the play as part of DCVI offensive unit. Nelson, meanwhile, netted two more goals before the end of the game, earning Salukis a convincing 6-0 win.
Two more for Nelson
In their second contest of the day, the DCVI field hockey squad took to the pitch against the St. Anne’s Eagles.
The opening half saw the team play at its best. Defensively, Katie Brine made commanding tackles and was supported by Emma Bryans and Hope McDougall who sent the ball wide to the Salukis’ strong side.
Jaci Mitchell initiated a lot of the team’s attack with great stick work in midfield. Rookie strikers Megan Morning and Lydia Taylor adapted to a new system of play that had DCVI controlling the ball deep into the Eagles’ end.
Shawna Nelson netted two more in the opening half, bringing her up to a total of five goals and one assist on the day.
The second half saw a much more balanced game as St. Anne’s used their speed effectively to challenge the St. Marys net several times. Josie Corby intercepted several passes to break things up, allowing Lili Smith and Melanie Martin, at midfield, to move the ball up field once more and apply pressure on the Eagles’ net.
Despite valiant efforts, Salukis ran out of time before netting another goal, but had enough as St. Anne’s only scored once, in the 2-1 victory for the home team.
Extreme weather conditions
The field hockey team had to contend with extreme weather in addition to facing one of the best teams in the province for their final game of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 23 in Clinton.
Hail, strong winds and extreme cold were the weather conditions that DCVI had to deal with in their match against South Huron Panthers.
The opening of the contest saw aggressive play in the midfield, for control of the ball and the game. Salukis were up to the challenge, with Jaci Mitchell and Lydia Taylor making great defensive plays to steal the ball and then turn it over to the strikers, who then put the pressure on the Exeter defence.
As play continued, South Huron slowly gained control of the match, but the DCVI defensive unit, anchored by goaltender Kayley Thompson, weren’t about to give in. Goal-line saves by Katie Brine, Sophie Brockman and Hope McDougall minimized the scoring and at half-time, Salukis trailed by just two goals.
The second half saw a renewed effort by the offence and the continued herculean efforts by the defence. Edyn Taylor, Emmah Douglas and Lili Smith all stepped up their game in an all-out effort to score against the Panthers.
At the same time, forwards Shawna Nelson and Megan Morning made it their mission to support the defensive efforts at the other end of the pitch.
Both tactics saw an increase in the intensity on the field that lead to many drives by DCVI into the South Huron half and the limiting to just one additional goal by the Panthers by the stalwart defence.
Although the game ended in favour of South Huron, once more St. Marys proved that they can compete with the best. The team finished the H-P season in third place, losing games only to South Huron and Goderich.
Mrs. Cronsberry and Mr. Ellison are extremely proud of the team for their efforts and their positive demeanour throughout the season. Congratulations to all team members on an amazing season and a special thank you to Emma Bryans, Hope McDougall and Shawna Nelson, all graduating players, for their leadership and dedication.