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EAST GREENWICHâ€”Could the East Greenwich field hockey team hang with defending Division I Champion Moses Brown?
That was the question the Avengers sought to answer Tuesday night as they hosted the Quakers and that answer as the Avs walked off Nick Carcieri Field was a resounding yes.
â€śTheyâ€™re the state champs so thatâ€™s how you measure yourself,â€ť EG coach Deb McMullen said. â€śIt was good to see that we were right there and have a chance to go far.â€ť
East trailed for the better part of the game before Maggie Gallogly redirected an Emily Karn shot with 2:17 left to play in regulation as the Avengers and Quakers finished in 1-1 tie.
â€śWe havenâ€™t had much of a challenge until we played them and it was just awesome to see how we can really play and work together,â€ť Karn said. â€śWeâ€™ve been psyched up all day and itâ€™s good to finally see the outcome.â€ť
After facing exactly zero shots in the first two games of the season against South Kingstown and Pilgrim, EG goalkeeper Jill Piacitelli was finally tested and the senior keeper proved she wasnâ€™t out there just for show.
â€śJill has worked hard in the offseason and put a lot of time in,â€ť McMullen said. â€ś[Sheâ€™s] gotten involved with a club field hockey team and has worked hard all season. She wants to make a name for herself too [because] sheâ€™s been overshadowed by a lot of superstar defenders in front of her.â€ť
Piacitelli had a strong game but for the better part of the first half the Quakers controlled possession and finally broke through with 2:45 left to play until halftime as Moses Brownâ€™s Hannah Langmuir snuck one in off an assist from Julia Caffrey.
Out of intermission the Avengers looked like a new team though, and â€“ plainly put â€“ dominated the defending champs.
â€śThey were definitely getting tired and we just picked it up,â€ť Karn said. â€śIt was awesome and we were playing just like we should.â€ť
Yet for all its hard work, East Greenwich seemed as if it was never going to be rewarded as time after time the Avengers drew penalty corners yet each opportunity proved fruitless.
Then to add injury to insult, the Avengers lost senior captain Caroline Neupauer for the rest of the game after hurting her elbow with 3:01 left to play.
â€śShe landed hard on her elbow,â€ť McMullen said. â€śShe was scared and in pain so Iâ€™m hoping she was more scared than hurt.â€ť
Less than one minute later EG finally broke through on a penalty corner as Karn rifled a shot from straight away and Gallogly was in perfect position to redirect it at the net.
â€śI was waiting the whole game for it to go right in the net,â€ť Karn said. â€śâ€¦It was just chills to see the ball in the back of the net.â€ť
Neither club could break though in regulation and in the seven-on-seven, 10-minute overtime session each team had their chances.
Karn played tremendously in the overtime, stopping more than a few three-on-one breaks for the Quakers and offensively the Avengers once again had their chances off penalty corners.
East Greenwich nearly converted with 45 seconds left and with time expired had a point blank opportunity that just missed the mark.
Statistics donâ€™t always tell the story but in this instance theyâ€™re fairly accurate as the Avengers dominated the second half and overtime, drawing 15 penalty corners to just four for Moses Brown.
The Quakers, however, were just the first challenge for EG this week as the Avs are certainly going to have their mettle tested when they host perennial rival North Kingstown today at 6:30 p.m.