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Stow field hockey holds off rallying Rough Riders in season finale

By Jonah Rosenblum | Reporter Published: October 16, 2016 12:00 AM
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The goals came in flurries.

Stow-Munroe Falls kept scoring. Kent Roosevelt kept coming back.

Ultimately, the Rough Riders ran out of time, as Stow held off visiting Roosevelt, 5-4.

It was that unusual afternoon in which both teams left happy.

The Bulldogs (8-8-0) had themselves a hard-fought victory, erupting for three goals in the final 11 minutes to break a 2-2 tie.

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The Rough Riders (1-8-1) proved themselves on a big stage. After the final whistle, fan after fan congratulated Roosevelt coach KC Nemec.

"(Roosevelt) played really well," Stow coach Virginia Wohlabaugh said. "They were inspired."

Stow controlled possession early. Only solid Rough Riders defense stood in the way of a Bulldogs' goal. Erin Gallagher came up with an impressive takeaway, as did Gracie Wyckoff. They couldn't keep the Bulldogs off the board forever, as Sam Houk deflected a Bulldogs shot in for the lead.

Nemec didn't waste time, immediately calling a timeout to remind the Rough Riders that they could beat the Bulldogs.

"We're still in it," Nemec said of her message in the huddle.

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The words didn't necessarily do much at first. Stow kept Roosevelt on its heels with a number of attacks. When Katie Goodenow doubled the Bulldogs' lead in the final few minutes of the first half, it appeared the Rough Riders might have hit their end. Instead, Katie Kingsley quickly hammered home a rebound of a kick save.

"That was a beautiful goal," Nemec said.

Seemingly emboldened, the Rough Riders came out strong in the second half, at times controlling possession. Midway through, Roosevelt's Maggie Ferrara pushed past a defender to send a backhand into the back of the net.

For some time, an uneasy truce held. A fantastic thru ball nearly found Kingsley for another prime scoring opportunity. A promising Rough Riders break was deterred at the last minute by the staunch defense of Stow's Kerri Lockard. Finally, with 10:53 remaining, Stow's Jessica Lloyd hammered a perfect shot from the right side off the left post for a 3-2 edge. Houk won a scrum in front of the net two minutes later to give Stow a 4-2 advantage.

"(Houk) is just such a smart player," Wohlabaugh said.

How could a Rough Riders team limited to two goals in 51 minutes manage two goals in nine minutes?

Roosevelt refused to think that way. Instead, Victoria Crawford whacked home a goal to draw Roosevelt within 4-3. When Stow notched another insurance goal, with Goodenow posting her second score, Roosevelt fired back with Ferrara's one-timer off a penalty corner into the back of the net.

Ultimately, the Rough Riders ran out of time for their comeback, but the good feelings persisted.

"What our fanbase and what our program is about is being a part of something bigger than ourselves," Nemec said. "It creates an understanding that we are here not just to win every single game. We're here to play together. We're here to create an atmosphere for young ladies to step out of their comfort zone and try a new sport and be part of their school atmosphere. I think sometimes that's most important in the big picture of life."

Stow and Roosevelt won't have to wait long to see each other again.

The Bulldogs will host the Rough Riders Oct. 17 at 4:30 p.m. to open their respective playoff runs. The winner of that contest will advance to face Hathaway Brown on the road Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

Email: jrosenblum@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9447

Twitter: @JLRSports


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