GREENWOOD VILLAGE | The next game between the Regis Jesuit and Cherry Creek field hockey teams really counts, but Tuesday’s first meeting provided some impressive foreshadowing.
At the end of a back-and-forth game at sunsplashed Stutler Bowl, coach Spencer Wagner’s Raiders ended up on the short end of a 3-2 decision that had the coach already looking forward to the rematch on Oct. 4 in a game that will count in the conference standings.
Junior forward Kathleen Roe scored both goals in the first half for the Raiders, who have had an impressive start to the season despite a 1-2 record.
“It was a phenomenal, I have no regrets about that game; we were 50 percent ball control with them and our goalie (Claire Stemper) was sick,” Wagner said. “Those little things, you can’t control them or hold them against anybody. …Our team performed exactly the way I’d want them to across the board.”
Roe played particularly well offensively, as she twice got shots past Cherry Creek goalie Sara McGuire and teamed with senior Katie Lechner and junior Mathison Davis to put considerable pressure on the Bruins defense.
With a shrug of her shoulders, Roe celebrated her first goal off a pass from Lechner that came from out high and slowly bounded into the goal.
Cherry Creek (2-0) readied to take a 2-1 lead into halftime, but the Raiders earned a series of three penalty corner opportunities in the final minute-plus of the first half. Though Regis Jesuit had a goal waived off, Roe scored one that counted with under a minute remaining when she stole an outlet pass with just one defender back and beat McGuire.
“I think Creek is the fastest team in the state hands down and Kathleen is faster than all of them,” Wagner said. “She’s only played the sport for two years, so she’s still pretty fresh, but she’s picking it up as fast as she can. She’s just not experienced enough yet to know when to touch left, when to touch right. Most of the time, she’s guessing and a third of the time she’s right. The rest of the time she’s learning.”
The Bruins struck for the tie-breaking goal midway through the second half when a penalty corner created a scoring chance in front of Stemper, who was feeling under the weather the entire game, but still managed to make seven saves.
Taylor Hantman took the initial shot for Cherry Creek and Meredith Synott fished the ball out of a logjam in front of the goal to score.
A few penalty corner tries gave Regis Jesuit a chance to tie, but sophomore Gabbie McWilliams missed just wide on a quality shot and Emma Walker, Lechner and Roe each had opportunities, but couldn’t get off clean shots.
Next up for Regis Jesuit in a home contest at 9 a.m. Saturday against defending state champion Colorado Academy in a third straight outstanding challenge following contests against Kent Denver (a 2-1 loss Aug. 28) and Cherry Creek. Colorado Academy, Kent Denver and Cherry Creek were the top three seeds in last season’s playoffs, with the Mustangs topping the Bruins in the championship game.
“If we can tighten things up and become more consistent, we’ll be strong when we meet Kent and Creek again,” Wagner said. “I think the team realized they are on equal footing with both of those teams, we just need to capitalize and it will happen.”
For a full outlook for the 2014 season for Aurora’s three field hockey teams — Grandview, Regis Jesuit and Smoky Hill — click here.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
CHERRY CREEK 3, REGIS JESUIT 2
Score by halves:
Regis Jesuit 2 0 — 2
Cherry Creek 2 1 — 3
First half — Regis Jesuit: Kathleen Roe (Katie Lechner), 20:49; Cherry Creek: Meredith Synott, 20:00; Cherry Creek: Phoebe Nielson, 11:18; Regis Jesuit: Roe, 40.8
Second half — Cherry Creek: Synott (Taylor Hantman), 16:56
Saves — Regis Jesuit: Claire Stemper (10 shots on goal-7 saves); Cherry Creek: Sara McGuire (4 shots on goal-2 saves)