It’s tough to say if Kearney Blandamer and Kelly Massino would have actually preferred a loss to the way the Thomas S. Wootton vs. Springbrook High School field hockey game ended on Wednesday night: a 2-2 tie.
“The old cliché is it’s like kissing your sister,” said Blandamer, Wootton’s coach.
Added Massino, Springbrook’s coach, “It’s killing me.”
After lightning began illuminating the dimming Rockville sky with a little less than 19 minutes remaining in the second half, the umpires had no choice but to call for a 30-minute delay which was reset after every sound of thunder or sight of lightning.
“It’s just a blip, it’s nothing,” argued Lesley Stroot, Blandamer’s sister and Wootton’s junior varsity coach.
But the umpires wouldn’t hear it.
Massino and Blandamer agreed to postpone the game to a later date but the decision was ultimately left up to Wootton Athletic Director Chris Thompson, who declared the game finished as a 2-2 tie with 18 minutes, 23 seconds left on the clock.
“I’m never going to play Springbrook again,” Patriot senior Chloe Morakis said. “I’m so mad.”
Morakis made the most of the 41-plus minutes that the game lasted as she and fellow senior Rowan Kubeluis were a terror all night for Springbrook. While Kubeluis controlled the ball with deft stick-work and sharp cutbacks and sidesteps that had the Wootton crowd — largely populated by football players hanging around after practice — raining down choruses of “Oooohs,” Morakis smashed the ball deep into Blue Devil territory nearly every time it seemed Springbrook goalie Ria Arceo-Peralta finally got a break.
“I think we were getting a lot of opportunities, getting sticks on the ball,” Kubeluis said. “If we were able to keep playing we would have kept getting all those opportunities.”
While the game was tied 2-2 at halftime, Wootton was firmly in command. After Springbrook failed to capitalize on a penalty corner in the opening minute of the game with junior Cassidy O’Hearn’s shot blocked, it was almost all Patriots the rest of the way.
Morakis launched in a shot five minutes into the game but Arceo-Peralta deflected it into junior Allie Band’s stick who pushed the put-back to the right of the goal. Wootton fought for two penalty corners in the next three minutes, firing in seven more shots, and all but one were kicked away by Arceo-Peralta.
The exception came on another Morakis bullet from the middle of the shooting circle that clanged off the left post.
“When the ball hits the post, you say to yourself, ‘It’s gonna be one of those nights,’” Blandamer said. “And it was one of those nights.”
All in all, Wootton unloaded 18 shots in the first half and six more in the 11:37 that was played in the second, but only two snuck past Arceo-Peralta.
“She’s sick,” Massino said of her sophomore keeper. “She’s never even been a goalie. She picked it up so quick, it just comes natural to her.”
Springbrook didn’t have as many opportunities as Wootton — just 10 shots on goal compared to the Patriots’ 23 — but it made the most of them when it got one.
On the Blue Devils’ second penalty corner of the night, junior Catherine Smith followed up a blocked Colleen Connolly shot to punch in the game’s first goal. Five minutes later, on the very next Springbrook penalty corner, the Blue Devils struck again with O’Hearn cleaning up another deflected Connolly shot.
“We came out kind of slow,” said Massino, now in her second stint as Springbrook’s coach. “But it started to pick up. We just came out kind of slow.”
Massino stands by a claim that the Blue Devils are a “second-half team,” but they didn’t get the chance to prove it prior to the game’s early ending, leaving two talented and frustrated teams on the field, unable to declare a winner.
“I feel like the kids really wanted to finish this game,” Blandamer said. “We were excited for our home opener under the lights.”
Wootton 2, Springbrook 2
Springbrook (1-0-1) 2 0 — 2
Wootton (0-0-1) 2 0 — 2
Springbrook — Catherine Smith, Cassidy O’Hearn
Wootton — Rowan Kubeluis, Carly Pascal
Springbrook — Colleen Connolly (2), Cassidy O’Hearn
Wootton — Allie Band (2)