Greenwich Academy put itself to the test by playing visiting Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child (Summit, N.J.) — the No. 1-ranked team in the nation by Max Field Hockey — on Monday.
Though the Gators dropped a 3-0 decision to visiting Oak Knoll, they put forth a representative effort, allowing just one girl in the first half. The visitors led 2-0 most of the second half, before added a goal in the final minute of action.
Oak Knoll is undefeated on the season (20-0) and begins its state tournament in N.J., this week.
“I’m happy we put Greenwich Academy on our schedule late in the season,” said Oak Knoll coach Ali Good, who has more than 300 career wins. “Playing against a team like Greenwich Academy was good preparation for us, as we start our state tournament soon. Our team defense is clicking.”
Greenwich Academy coach Jamie Brower welcomed the opportunity to face Oak Knoll, as her squad gets ready for the postseason next week. GA sports a record of 14-2-1.
“That was a really fun game,” Brower said. “We’re really grateful Oak Knoll made the drive up to play us. We knew we were going to be playing against some skilled players. They’re very skilled and they’re strong and fast and they have so many weapons on the field.”
Both teams had their moments during the first half, with senior Grace Schulze helping to lead Greenwich Academy’s offensive attack and senior Maya Walker and Ada Shaffer pacing GA’s defensive effort. Oak Knoll took a 1-0 lead on Lily Ramsey’s goal with 10:33 remaining in the first half. The game’s first goal came with Oak Knoll moving the ball up the field in transition.
The Gators trailed just 1-0 at halftime, with goalie Kathryn Gregory making numerous saves. Oak Knoll finished the game with 15 shots on goal and five penalty corners and Gregory made 12 saves for Greenwich Academy.
GA trailed 2-0 after Ramsey tallied off a penalty corner with 9:28 left in the second half. The visitors’ third goal came with 14.7 seconds left in the game.
Meanwhile, Greenwich Academy drew several penalty corners in the second half, but was held off the scoreboard.
“I was really proud that we picked up the pace,” Brower said. “Our team really came out right off the bat and kept pace with them, we had some nice attacking opportunities. They (Oak Knoll) did a good job of finishing in the circle. They can hit the ball hard it put it away really nicely.”
Brower credited Walker, Shaffer and Antonia Packard for leading the team’s defensive play and Evelyn Barringer for her effort in the midfield.
“Oak Knoll put a lot of pressure on us and were physical and fast,” Brower said. “I thought we played smart defense and got organized quickly.”
Greenwich Academy hosts Deerfield Academy on Sunday at 11 a.m., before playing in next week’s FAA Tournament.