It’s not often you see a buzzer-beating goal in field hockey, but that’s what East Chapel Hill’s Maya Levin pulled off at halftime Wednesday night at Cardinal Gibbons.
It’s not as rare but still unusual to see a goalie make a save on a penalty stroke, but East Chapel Hill sophomore goalie Lydia Treml managed to do so midway through the first half of the East Conference match that at the time was scoreless.
Those two key plays helped the Wildcats (7-2, 3-1 East) take home a 3-1 victory over Cardinal Gibbons (1-6, 0-1 East) in a match played in a steady drizzle.
EAST CHAPEL HILL
The N.C. Field Hockey Association’s defending state champion Wildcats like how they’re playing, rain or shine.
“We struggled early in the season, but the girls have worked hard,” said ECH Coach Susan Taylor Little, who is recently married with a new surname. “Some of players weren’t expecting the competition we’ve faced to be as good as it has been. But the close matches have been good for us.”
On Treml’s penalty stroke save, she reached to her right and actually caught the ball in her hand.
“I’ve never done that in a game,” Treml said. “It was my first (penalty) stroke save of the season. I get really nervous in those situations. It’s one-on-one.”
On a night of close plays, the game of inches worked against Cardinal Gibbons’ Morgan Cody. She nearly scored first when her shot with 12:37 remaining in the first half hit the left post. Two minutes later Treml recorded her penalty stroke save.
“We have a young team,” said Crusaders Coach Katherine Knettel, who also was recently married with a new last name. “Some of these kids didn’t play until their freshman year, but they’re doing what they need to do. They’re athletic kids and smart kids.”
Despite a lack of experience Knettel stuck to her philosophy of scheduling tough to develop skills as the season progresses despite the hit to the team’s record.
“I feel like we learn from the best,” Knettel said. “”When you play a team like East Chapel Hill, you learn from them.”
2:42 first half: East Chapel Hill senior Kila Hancock broke the ice of a defensive struggle.
0:00 first half: Levin, a junior, tapped in a second rebound shot from close range as the horn blared across the field.
Halftime: East Chapel Hill 2, Cardinal Gibbons 0
17:26: Elizabeth Wilson got the Crusaders on the scoreboard with a one-one goal from 10 yards out in the middle of the field.
9:33: East Chapel Hill senior Reilly Reid provided an insurance goal with 9:33 to play from the middle of the field off of a corner stroke.
THEY SAID IT
“That was my first one, yessiree,” understated Levin about her halftime buzzer-beating goal. “I didn’t know how much time was left. I saw the open ball and shot it. We needed that second goal. We were only up by one and they’re a really competitive team.”
OUT OF BOUNDS
The schools were able to play JV and varsity matches on a rainy night, thanks to Cardinal Gibbons’ artificial field turf. That’s 120 minutes of field hockey without tearing up the surface for upcoming games in boys soccer and football in addition to field hockey.
“It’s a blessing to be able to play and practice on this field when it’s raining,” Knettel said. “It’s a testament to Cardinal Gibbons and the program they’re trying to build here.”