Visiting Notre Dame Prep scored two goals in the first five minutes and added another goal less than six minutes into the second half in a 3-0 victory over No. 7 ranked Garrison Forest (9-3 overall, 6-2 conference) in field hockey action on Tuesday.
Nathalie Friedman scored the first goal for the unbeaten No. 2 Blazers (11-0, 7-0 conference), off an assist from Julia Kraft, just 2:15 into the game.
The second goal came after several Blazers bunched in front of the cage and repeatedly peppered Garrison goalie Tessa Evarts, before Mackenzie Tillman flicked it home with 25:06 left in the first half.
“I was like ‘I got this’, so I just flicked it toward the back and flicked it up and let alone it went in,” Tillman said. “I was expecting [a whistle] because we kept thinking it was going to be a stroke, because it kept going underneath her pads, but we just kept pushing through and it was a good team effort.”
The final goal was a transition score that started with a long lead pass from Friedman to Tillman.
Tillman fed Liza Regan on the doorstep and she drilled it home.
“It’s not like, Oh, we are going to pass to one person and she is going to score, it’s like a team effort,” Tillman said.
Garrison had no shots on goal in the first 27 minutes, despite strong midfield play from senior Kennedy Lynch, but Lynch left the game after she was hit in the foot with a hard drive.
Finally, with under three minutes left in the first half, they got a pair of penalty corners that were inserted by Amanda Fruman, but neither resulted in a shot.
The Grizzlies first shot was taken by Leigh James with 2:08 left, but it leaked wide.
The Blazers answered with a connection from Friedman to Tillman that ended with a save by Evarts.
Garrison Forest turned up the intensity at the start of the second half and they got a shot from Claire Jones that was saved by keeper Sasha Dennis, and a shot from Macy Miller that went wide,
Another close shot attempt was rejected by Olivia Kenny. That ignited the fast break that Friedman started and Regan finished for a 3-0 lead.
“We gave them the game plan and they knew exactly what we were going to do and they followed through,” Notre Dame Prep coach Katrina Ross said.
Garrison earned 10 penalty corners in the second half, but they couldn’t convert any against a stout Notre Dame Prep defense, led by Rachel Borzymowski, Alyssa Ritchie and Pyper Friedman.
“When they did have it in our defending half we were playing steady, poised defense, where they are not being too aggressive and they are forcing out, again, following through the game plan,” said Ross, whose squad defeated the Grizzlies, 2-1, in the first meeting this season.
She was wary of them this time in the second half.
“They are a second-half team,” Ross said. “When we played them the first time around they played great aggressive hockey. They just play a different style of hockey than we do and last time they dictated a little more than we did and this time our game plan came together and we really played Blazer field hockey, which is a finesse game of hockey.”
Garrison Forest coach Traci Davis was certainly impressed.
“NDP played their game today,” Davis said. “They were relentless. They had some great passes, terrific dodges and we couldn’t get ourselves going enough to finish.”
Lynch returned from her injury for Garrison in the second half and had the best scoring chance after Ryleigh McComas inserted a penalty corner to Fruman, who left it for Lynch, but her shot was saved by Dennis.
James also had a wide shot off a penalty corner.
“I think we had some moments where we were pretty darn close, but then their defense stopped us or we also had some unforced errors,” Davis said. “NDP did a good job, but I’m very proud of our team for staying in it every second and continuing to try. The character and the strength of our team is we are still growing and building, and while it’s always difficult to suffer a loss, especially to the same team twice now, it’s okay.”
Garrison is currently in second place in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
Notre Dame Prep, which graduated 12 seniors from last year’s squad who lost to McDonogh in the final seconds of the IAAM championship game, is in first place in the conference.
They are doing it with only one starting senior [Sam Nason] in the lineup and six seniors overall.
“We have a very, very skilled team and they are playing beautiful hockey right now, and as a coach, I can’t ask anything more of them,” Ross said.