NEWPORT–The North Country Field Hockey team ran into a talented group of girls from Rice Memorial on Tuesday afternoon as they fell to the Green Knights by the score of 3-0.
Going into the game, Coach Chantelle Bouchard understood her team would be facing an uphill battle, and her girls were prepared to make a stand.
"Our team was playing big defense (today), that is what we knew we were going have to do from the get-go, and hopefully get to 7 on 7 play, but it didn't work out that way."
The Falcons were indeed very strong defensively in the first half, keeping Rice's scoring opportunities to a minimum despite playing 95 percent of the half in their own end.
When they were able to get past midfield, the stingy Green Knight defense quickly turned the ball back up the field into North Country territory.
In the second half, the relentless Rice offense went back to work, but not before the Falcons were able to make a stab at their opponent’s net.
"They decided to be aggressive and do what it takes, this was our field and they wanted to own it," said Bouchard.
Unfortunately, every time North Country got close, they seemed to get into foul trouble and lose their momentum.
In what become an eerily repetitive occurrence, the Falcons would get a little sustained pressure in/near the Rice circle, get called for a foul and the Knights would take the ball the other way and score.
This exact scenario played itself out on the first two goals of the game.
Interestingly, on one of the Rice goals goaltender Danielle Gabucci seemed to be obstructed by a member of the green and black, but after Bouchard consulted with the officials, they indicated to her that the contact was incidental, and therefor allowable.
Gabucci seemed unaffected by the rough stuff in her crease.
"They are a good team so, you know, it was a challenge. The girls played their game and I played mine."
The junior goaltender has continued to improve on her game, despite the recent losses. Yesterday she was able to turn away 10 of the 13 shots, most of them coming in the second half.
Unfortunately the Falcons were unable to get any shots on the Rice goalie Maura Sheriden, who picked up the easy shut-out.
Rice's Jenna Campbell would tally their final goal with five seconds left to play, cementing the 3-0 win.
Now it is off to Spaulding where Bouchard hopes her team can continue their strong defensive play.
"If we play like we did today we are going to do great. Honestly, they did a good job. They played defense the whole time and that is fine. I have nothing bad to say about their play."
Game time is set for 4:00.