O’Connell adds 20 saves to set up a rematch with Glastonbury.
By Paul Palmer
Junior Ellie Goldstein scored five times while senior goalie Addie O’Connell turned aside 20 shots as the Titans beat Amity 5-1 in their first-round game in the CIAC Class L Field Hockey Tournament at home in West Hartford.
The win will bring Hall and Glastonbury together on the field for the second time this season. The Gladiators won the first game 3-2 on Sept. 19. “We are excited to play Glastonbury next as we usually don’t get a second chance with them in the tourney,” said Hall coach Jenna Behan.
The No. 5 seed Titans got on the board at the 7:50 mark of the first when Goldstein converted Meghan Murray’s corner. Then, 4:30 later it was the same combination hooking up to give Hall the 2-0 lead. “I cam in thinking I did not want our season to end tonight,” said Goldstein, whose stick-handling and shooting skills are in the elite class.
In the second period, the Spartans turned up their intensity and focus. Often having the better of play, Amity found itself stifled in the early going by O’Connell’s aggressive play in goal, and the strong support of defenders Kathleen Culmo, Molly McHugh, and Dawson Biondi. Goldstein would break the Amity push when she stick-handled around and through five opponents and fired a backhander that slammed off the crossbar and deflected in off an Amity player to make it 3-0 just 2:27 into the second. With just over 2 minutes to play, and Hall down one player, Amity scored their only goal of the game off a corner.
After the intermission, Amity came out with the better of play early on, and at one point had five back-to-back corners. The Hall defense bent but did not break under the pressure and once again it would be Goldstein turning the tide.
Another strong solo effort through defenders and at 6:23 once again she scored – her fourth on the night. One minute and 11 seconds later, Goldstein would finish off the incredible five-goal effort. The play started when Murray managed to disrupt an Amity clearing attempt. That led to a Hall corner, a shot on goal, and Goldstein netting the rebound. That goal caused the Hall fans to begin an “Ellie has 5” chant. In fact, Goldstein has scored the last six goals for Hall, going back to the OT winner vs. Conard that ended the regular season. “I think Ellie is still on a high from last Thursday’s game,” said her coach of the effort.
Despite the four-goal deficit, Amity showed no quit in their game. O’Connell was forced into four big saves in quick succession in the period. She later would have a sprawling save to ger left to deny another Spartans’ goal scoring attempt. “I am really confident working with my defense,” said O’Connell. “ I know that my teammates are always going to be there to back me up when I go out after a shot,” added the captain.
Hall improves to 14-3-0-0 on the season having won its last seven in a row. The winner of the quarterfinals showdown at No. 4 Glastonbury (14-3-0-0) on Friday looks to be on course for a matchup with undefeated No. 1 seed Darien (17-0-0-0) in the semifinals. “I think the win (over Amity) sets the tone for the redemption game with Glastonbury,” Goldstein said. “This was a full team effort that put us on the right path.”
Added her coach, “This was a good test for us tonight. We will go into the Glastonbury game with some confidence,” said Behan.
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