Centurions crush Crimsons playoff run

Last night in the cold and sharp rain, the Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL) Centurions cut the Crimson Field Hockey team’s season short with a 2-0 victory in the state semi-finals hosted at CAL. While the Crimsons put up a tough battle, they were unable to connect and score throughout the duration of the game, ultimately leading to a devastating loss. Both teams came out with a slow start and appeared to be feeling each other out like a Floyd Mayweather fight.

First Half

Manual came into the game fired up with lots of early energy. They took a defensive approach to the game rather than immediately going on the attack.

For most of the first half CAL was able to maintain control of the ball and drive deep into Crimson territory. They were able to get off the first shot of the game, however Manual goalie Bre McWhorter (#00, 12) blocked the shot by aggressively diving on the ground.

After this first shot attempt Manual gained control of the ball and connected well with each other and had nice passing up the field. They managed to encroach on CAL territory for a short time yet they were unable to get off a solid shot attempt.

Once again CAL took over the ball control and was able to easily plow down the field into Manual territory. The Centurions took a couple of shot attempts yet they were all denied by a strong defensive core and goalie on Manual’s end. With 22:23 left in the first half CAL scored a quick goal off corner penalty shot, giving them the 1-0 advantage early on.

After this score Manual subbed in Addie Clark (#92, 11) at goalie in hopes to respark the Crimson spirit. Following the substitution Rachel Wheatley (#8, 12) drove hard down field entering scoring position in CAL territory.

Subsequently, one of the Manual assistant coaches received a green card for yelling at the ref repeatedly. In the event a green card is issued, no players have to come off the field. With 15:54 left in the half Manual calls their first timeout of the game.

Returning to play after the timeout Manual continues to take a defensive approach to the game. Meredith Wickenheiser (#11, 12) came out of the time out with lots of energy and was all over the field. It appeared as if the momentum had shifted in favor of the Crimsons when they were able to block yet another CAL shot. The Manual student section erupted after this blocked goal with chants of “I believe that we will win.” This further boosted the Crimson liveliness, encouraging them to drive down field and take a shot. Unfortunately for Manual this shot was blocked.

Manual began to tire and became predictable to CAL. The Centurions coaches were calling out the Manual plays from the sidelines, setting their girls up for a perfect defensive series. Before the half concluded CAL was able to get off one more corner shot, missing the shot the halftime score was 1-0 in CAL’s favor.

Second Half

Coming into the second half, the Crimsons changed their strategy and went on the attack. They continued to play a lot more aggressive. Wheatley went after it and was taking every chance she could to move the ball upfield for the Crimsons.

Once again the student section roared with enthusiasm in support of their girls. They released smoke bombs, and due to the wet weather conditions, the smoke stayed down low on the field. The officials called an official timeout in order to prevent potential injury due to the lack of visibility on the field. The Centurions returned to the game with a bit of daze following the smoke bombs.

Throughout the second half Shelby Young (#29, 12) stepped up and played a key role for the team as a vocal leader and leader by example of play.

The Manual sideline revived their pregame energy and started chanting and cheering their teammates.

Manual coaches continued to be upset with refs and have conversation with them in relation to calls made or not made. Ellie Wheatley (#7, 10) was given a green card and made to sit out for a moment.

“We played very hard and very aggressive and some things just didn’t go our way, but we did the best we could,” E. Wheatley said.

Upon Wheatley’s return to the field, CAL flowed down the field effortlessly, scoring their second goal of the night. This solidified a 2-0 CAL lead with about eight minutes left in the game.

Manual took a timeout following the score. Upon the return, Cora Kirby (#33, 11) was knocked down and an injury timeout was taken. The Crimsons were given a corner shot, however they were unable to capitalize on this opportunity. In the final minute of the game a Centurion was given a yellow card and had to leave the field.

CAL would go on to win the game 2-0, ending Manual’s 2017 season.

“I don’t think any of us were ready for the season to be over,” Annie Nichols (#10, 12) said.

“I think we had a hard time connecting as a team so it was difficult to come together, but I think we stayed in it to the end and kept fighting,” R. Wheatley said.

Following the conclusion of the game both R. Wheatley and E. Wheatley were named to all tournament team from Manual.

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