By Chris Teale (Photo/Chris Teale)
Ahead 2-0 at the start of the second half against rival Episcopal and seemingly cruising to its 13th straight win, the visiting St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes field hockey team had a reality check.
Less than four minutes after halftime, Maroon midfielder Camden Alford pounced on a rebound off the frame of the goal to cut the home side’s deficit to 2-1 and give them a way back into the game.
But Alford’s intervention gave new life to the Saints’ offense. A minute later, Caroline Sweet scored at the back post, and then Olivia Gilliam made it 4-1. Senior midfielder Olivia Pugh completed the scoring with just over 15 minutes remaining to give the visitors a 5-1 win.
A.C. Veith and Mollie Miller scored in the first half for SSSAS, which stayed unbeaten with the victory.
“I think we were expecting if they were going to have anything, we were going to come back,” Miller said of her team’s reaction to Episcopal’s goal. “We all brought it in and said, ‘We’ve got this, we know what to do.’ No one really got down or anything. We knew we just had to pick it up, and we did.”
The Saints return to action Thursday against Potomac, after the Times’ print deadline, then travel Friday to Norfolk and Virginia Beach for games against Norfolk Academy and Bishop Sullivan. Those two games will be played on AstroTurf fields, which play faster than multipurpose fields, the Saints’ normal surface.
SSSAS head coach Dionna Jordan said those games will be played with one eye on a possible postseason run.
“It’s always important for us to get on AstroTurf as much as possible, because that’s what our state tournament is played on,” she said. “We made that a focus going into the season and spent our preseason on AstroTurf and now this is a chance to go to Virginia Beach and get on that surface for two more games against really good competition. That’s what it takes to get better: to challenge yourself along the way.”