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Woodbridge Sneaks Away With Win

I normally prefer watching high school field hockey games from the scorer’s table at midfield. Besides some casual conversation with whoever may be keeping stats for each team, it allows me to get the correct goal-scorers directly from the officials and the correct times for each one of the goals.

But on Tuesday night at Woodbridge, I decided to watch a game from the stands instead. Who knows why, really. Guess I just needed some variation.

The funny part was that there wasn’t a single goal time to record -- at least not until the end of the game, a 1-0 overtime win for Woodbridge -- and what was happening to Forest Park was visible from Old Bridge Road, nevermind the scorer’s table.

In the first five minutes, Forest Park was awarded five penalty corners, which translated into exactly one shot. Throughout the entire 64 minutes 22 seconds, Forest Park totaled 19 penalty corners -- or about one every three and a half minutes.

Simply put: The Bruins could not score. It was one of the most remarkable -- well, unremarkable if you ask Bruins Coach Edie Pybus -- occurrences that I’ve ever seen in field hockey. Whether it was a missed shot, a muffed pass or a goalkeeper save, Forest Park had 19 chances to set up a designed play and only managed to put a shot on the cage seven times.

“We should’ve made them,” Pybus said of the missed penalty corners. “We practice them several times [a day], and it just wasn’t working.”

Pybus also complimented the Woodbridge defense, which was given a nice little stress test during this one.

“Their defense was strong every time we went down,” Pybus added. “They have a good team. As many opportunities as we had to score goals, they were there to get it out.”

With the loss, Forest Park dropped to 5-2 overall, 3-1 in the Cardinal District. Woodbridge bumped its record to 4-7, 3-1and nullified an early-season district lost to Osbourn Park.

First-year Coach Alison Weckstein said she did some advance scouting on Forest Park by watching the Bruins beat Gar-Field earlier this season. While taking notes, Weckstein realized a lot of those designed insertion plays looked a lot like components of the Woodbridge offense.

That, coupled a solid effort from the Woodbridge defense, helped to quash more than half a dozen offensive pushes from Forest Park in the game’s second half.

“We work really hard on those penalty corners,” said Weckstein, who inherited a team that finished 9-10 last fall. “We just practice them over and over again, and we’re finally marking up those posts with our sticks down the whole time.”

While the Woodbridge defense kept the game scoreless, senior Shawna Thorpe picked an excellent time to score her first goal of the season, corralling a drive from sophomore Maggie Tallman and converting with 10:38 left in the first overtime session.

And even though she scored the game-winning goal against one of her team’s top rivals, Thorpe couldn’t help but deflect the credit -- much like her defense had deflected Forest Park penalty corner attempts all night.

“We have a really good defense,” Thorpe said. “Everyone on our defense plays really hard, and they’re really good all the time. I don’t think we would’ve won this game without them.”

By Jason Mackey  |  September 22, 2009; 11:31 PM ET
Categories:  Cardinal District , Forest Park , Northwest Region , Osbourn Park , Woodbridge  
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