The Lady Grizzly varsity field hockey played one of their final home games of the season Wednesday, Oct. 18 against the Corning High School Cardinals.
The hosting ladies fell to the Cardinals 1-0, but the close game was one of the most well-played matches held on the home field during the 2017 season.
One of the referees and former Lassen High field hockey coach Dorinda Shaffer commented, “This was Lassen’s best game, I think.”
After senior night festivities that included honoring each senior with a brief speech and flowers, the game was off to a strong start for Lassen. The Lady Grizzlies took less than two minutes before entering the Cardinal circle and earning a short corner. Though the Grizzlies weren’t able to land a goal, they kept the intensity high.
The purple and gold passion was strong enough that the Cardinals struggled to gain any advantage for the first several minutes of the game. It took nearly seven minutes for the Cardinals to keep the ball on Grizzly territory for longer than 20 seconds.
However, once the ball was steady on Lassen’s side of the field, the Cardinals seemed to gain their groove.
Corning earned their first short corner of the game midway through the first half. With 15:40 remaining of the half, the Cardinals made a shot on goal, but goalie Kris Clements was too quick in the cage to let the ball pass. A strong kick from Clements sent the ball toward the 16-yard line, thus clearing the circle.
Though the ball was cleared by Clements, it didn’t stay that way for long. Corning earned another short corner with less than 13 minutes remaining of the game. They then earned their third short corner within 15 seconds of starting the second. With the Cardinal’s intensity laid clear during the last short corner, Corning managed their first and only goal of the game with 12:03 on the clock.
After resetting the field for the next round of game play, the Cardinals quickly regained possession and drove their power toward the Grizzly goal once again. However, Clements was quick to block the shot on goal, much to the Cardinals’ dismay. From there, Kara Hahn cleared the circle and shot the ball up to Isabella Geoia. Geoia made quick work of the ball and crossed the 50-yard line successfully. She then passed through to Malanie Gati, who brought the ball into Corning’s circle.
The sudden transport of the ball from one side of the field to the other mystified the Cardinals and thus sent their defensive players into a panic. Lassen earned a short corner with 10 minutes remaining of the half due to Corning obstruction.
Lassen then earned another short corner with 9:51 on the clock due to hacking. Though the Grizzlies could feel just how close they were to tying up the game, luck was not on Lassen’s side.
By halftime, the score remained 1-0, Corning.
The Lady Grizzlies initiated the second half with just as much intensity as they had finished the first. Within the first eight minutes, Lassen had launched the ball toward and into the Corning circle. Savannah Huskey took the initiative to dribble the ball past multiple Cardinals until she hit the 50. From there, Huskey gave a strong drive to pass the ball downfield to Madee Cluck. Upon entering the circle, Cluck attempted to evade one Cardinal, but the Corning girl couldn’t control herself. Due to the obstruction against Cluck, the Grizzlies had earned their first short corner of the second half.
After clearing the ball, the Cardinals reciprocated with a few offensive passes and dodges to bring the ball deep into Lassen territory. Corning earned a short corner with 13:26 on the clock, and again at 13:10.
Though neither short corner proved successful for the Cardinals, the fight was far from over.
With hardly more than nine minutes remaining of the game, the Cardinals attempted another goal, but Dori Davidson blocked the attempt and shot the ball out of the circle to not only bewilder the offending Cardinals, but to also get the ball back in Grizzly possession so it could enter Cardinal territory once again.
With 5:42 remaining of the game, Cluck made a shot on goal and had the many spectators draw in a sharp breath, but unfortunately, the ball missed the goal by a smidge.
Refusing to throw in the towel, Sara Gardiner recovered the ball after Cluck’s shot and managed a shot of her own with 4:50 on the clock. Again, the ball barely missed the cage, but the action sparked cheers from Grizzly fans regardless.
After struggling for the ball, Corning finally got ahold of their offensive strategy and reintroduced the ball to Lassen’s side with less than three minutes remaining of the game. At 2:20, the Cardinals made a shot on goal, but Clements was far too quick to let the ball pass her by.
With 1:46 on the clock, Corning earned their final short corner.
The game ended with Corning in the lead 1-0, but it was clear the Cardinals knew that the Grizzlies were hardly a team to mess with.
Head coach Reese Rice commented, “They played better. It was a well-played game. Of course I always want to win, but I don’t mind losing when I see them playing good.”
Another referee, Danny Matchniff, commented, “I thought the (Lassen) girls really stepped it up in the second half. They were fast and there were with each other.”
Assistant coach Kayla Millar added, “It was definitely the best home game intensity.”