NEW MIDDLETOWN – The weather on Thursday evening offered a bit of everything.
It delayed the start of the Division III Sectional Final between the Springfield Tigers and Brookfield Warriors by an hour. Then only 11 minutes, it delayed it for another 30 minutes.
Starting and stopping could cause some seizures for most teams, but for Springfield the second delay came at just the right time in Justin Kosek’s opinion as his team was 1-1 with the Warriors.
“After they tied it up again, the break was necessary” he added. “I felt it came at a good time. We talked about how we never kicked the ball out of defense into the middle of the field and two of them just threw it straight at the girl in front of the goal. We urgently needed a break. “
That conversation worked wonders as the Tigers scored a goal seven minutes after the break and took a 5-2 win that they would never give up again.
Ava Vecchione’s goal with an assist by Grace Venturella made Springfield 1-0 in just three minutes (13-2-3).
Brookfield (4-11-1) responded seven minutes later with a goal from Katie Gibson. Then came the weather delay and the Tigers (13-2-3) could regroup.
“We really just came in with the intention of winning the ball, playing hard and aggressive, really showing up and winning every ball.” That’s what Brookfield trainer Erin Warrender said. “They won every single ball from the air in this first half. It just made it a little difficult towards the end. You got some good calls. They had some quick runs and were able to capitalize on them. They are amazing.”
After the break, Springfield took the lead back through Venturella’s goal, 26:29 behind in the first half. Springfield had Venturella in the middle to attack as needed during the game.
“We’re playing them up a lot, a lot more than ever before.” said Kosek. “So that she got the second of these was pretty big. Defensively, there are things that we have to work on. We lost two of our center-backs in the first three games of the year, both to knee injuries, and both of them for four years in the seniors.
“The heart and soul of our team. We have two newbies playing these positions, Hannah (Stouffer) and Kendall (Maughan). They have improved, they make some mistakes in freshmen, but they go way beyond being a newbie. “
It would stay 2-1 in the second half as the Warriors were right there even though the Tigers overtook them 10-3.
“We got 2-1 into the second half” Warrender said. “At that point we still had every chance of winning the game. We were a come-from-back team before, that was also a half-time speech. We had hoped that we could put a few things together, but unfortunately we came up short. “
Kaila Lamorticella’s goal just three minutes after the second half was a backbreaker.
Brookfield struggled to get going as Springfield built up its defense with five to seven defenders in the back.
“He does a really good job protecting back there” Warrender said. “It’s hard to get five or seven people through if you’re just trying to keep an eye on their strikers and everything at the same time.
Brionna Holt’s goal with 24:08 on the left made it 4-1, as the Tigers made 50 percent of their shots on goal in the second half. The Warriors were limited to just two in the second half, which surprised Kosek as he felt his team got a little mixed up in the second half.
“We kept making breakthroughs, but they had the ball I felt like a lot more than we did.” he said. “I could be way off, but that’s what it felt like. When the three of us got up and I was able to move a few people and realized that we didn’t need any more goals, we really didn’t put anyone back on the defensive. “
The Tigers played with two holding centers and made sure they held a lot more unless Brookfield really pushed towards the box and then Springfield could go upstairs and support a bit more.
Venturalla scored her second goal of the game to make it 5-1 at 19:38.
Brookfield scored Dru Gerace’s goal less than a minute later. Around this time Kosek played with his lineup and knocked out Holt after it was carded.
“After they scored two goals, I was a little worried that I might have pulled Gracie a little earlier and that I was preparing to pull Kayla.” he added. “They did the second, we left Caitlin (Cappelli) a little longer than we wanted and finally got her out, but Brionna was carded; It’s a tournament, I mean, she gets a second card, she’s knocked out two games so we knocked her out with a little more than 20 minutes to go and we never put her back in because I felt the lead was good . We had a sufficiently good lead that we didn’t need it. “
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