CLAYMONT — After a bit of a slow start in their game at Archmere on Sept. 14, the Saint Mark’s field hockey team swung the momentum in their favor. The Spartans’ relentless pressure paid off with two Cat Kaminski goals in the fourth quarter, including one on a penalty stroke with a second remaining for a thrilling 2-1 victory.
The Auks got off to a good start, taking the lead less than five minutes in. Off a penalty corner, Maura Reed sent a pass to Carly Polsky, whose backhand eluded Saint Mark’s goalie Catherine Jones for the 1-0 lead.
Archmere kept the pressure on, and Jones was forced to make a stop on another Auks corner a few minutes after the goal. Gradually, however, the pendulum swung toward the Spartans, and they were on the offensive most of the rest of the afternoon.
They missed a few shots just wide toward the end of the first, and Archmere goalie Ava Hughes came up with some quality saves as the second quarter got under way. Offensive chances were limited in the second, but the Spartans did have an opportunity as time expired at the half. They were awarded a penalty corner and appeared to have scored, but an Auks infraction had been called before the ball went in the cage. Saint Mark’s had another corner, and Hughes made a sprawling save to keep the Auks in front at the half.
The visitors kept the pressure on into the second half, but their shots were either just missing or did not reach the net. The Archmere defense kept a few balls that had gotten behind Hughes out as well. The Spartans had four penalty corner opportunities in the final 2:45 of the quarter. Hughes stopped a blistering shot on the last one.
Finally, the Spartans were able to make one of their penalty corner chances count. Katie Hanich took the inbounds pass at the top of the scoring circle and passed to Kaminski on her left. Kaminski whistled a shot waist high to Hughes’ right, and the Spartans had tied the score with 7:09 remaining.
Jones didn’t have as much activity at her end, but she left her feet to stop a high shot with under five minutes to go, keeping the score tied.
Kaminski had two shots at the winning goal on penalty strokes in the last 79 seconds. She lined up in front of Hughes at the 1:19 mark, but the goalie guessed correctly and made a lunging save to her right. Overtime loomed, but an Auks infraction in the goal crease led to another chance for Kaminski with just a single tick to go. This time, Kaminski went to her right, sending the ball about chest high into the net, and she was swarmed by her teammates.
The Spartans outshot the Auks, 15-7, and had 20 penalty corners to four for Archmere. Jones finished with six saves. Saint Mark’s (2-1) hosts William Penn on Sept. 18 at 4 p.m.
Hughes made 14 saves for Archmere, which fell to 1-2. The Auks are back in action on Sept. 19 at Sanford at 4 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.