MIDDLETOWN >> The Mercy and North Haven field hockey teams did everything they could in trying to capture their first wins of the season Wednesday afternoon at Middletown.
There was a terrific first half by the Tigers, who grabbed a two-goal lead at intermission. There was a spirited comeback by the Indians, who scored three unanswered goals in the second half to take a stunning lead. There was a clutch, game-tying goal by Mercy late in the second half. And finally, a 7-on-7 sudden death overtime period that couldn’t have been more thrilling if the SCC championship was at stake.
In the end, Mercy and North Haven remained winless.
Tigers junior forward Madison DeRita scored two goals and senior midfielder Katie Harrison knocked in the tying goal with 7:12 left in regulation to lift Mercy to a 3-3 tie.
“It was very exciting,” said Mercy coach Marji Sklar-Levine. “I thought our kids played really hard. They really wanted this game.”
“I talked to a couple of other kids on the team and they said that’s the hardest they’ve ever played,” DeRita said. “That’s the hardest I’ve ever played, honestly.”
DeRita’s first goal, which was assisted by Kathryn Hanly, gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with 13:45 left in the first half. Her second score, a blast from just inside the circle that traveled past a host of players before finding an opening just inside the left goalpost, gave Mercy its biggest lead of the season at 2-0.
“The first one was lucky,” DeRita explained. “I meant to pass that to post but it just went right on goal. The other one went right through. We’ve been working on that in practice. I had two goals already this season and I was dying to get a couple more.”
“Maddie played her best game ever,” added Sklar-Levine. “She was outstanding.”
Mercy’s defense in the first half was spearheaded by Christy Parmenter, Juliana DellaCamera, Jessica Corcoran, Christine Hedberg, and goalie Shannon Murphy, who withstood a few North Haven penalty corner opportunities.
But North Haven kept the pressure on in the second half. Nora Mackay’s goal, with an assist from Nichole Cicarelli, made it 2-1. Junior forward Abby Tantorski then stunned the Tigers with a pair of goals just two minutes and 20 seconds apart and North Haven led, 3-2. (North Haven entered the contest having scored just three goals all season.)
“I was very proud of my girls starting off down 2-0 and coming back and putting up such a great fight,” said North Haven coach Deb Battista. “I would have loved for them to have been able to win in overtime but by then I think everyone was exhausted.”
Tantorski’s second goal came with 10:21 left in regulation.
“I was at post and I saw it and just tapped it in,” said Tantorski. “I think we ended the season on a very good note. The tie was good.”
Goalie Serena Battista made 12 saves for the Indians, who finished their season at 0-13-2.
“It was a great way to end the season with some great kids,” said Deb Battista.
Katie McAuliffe had the assist on Harrison’s tying goal, while Murphy finished with 13 saves for Mercy (0-14-1).
“I thought us getting that third goal really showed that we did have some play left to us and we really proved that we could stay with them,” said Sklar-Levine. “To get the tie was a nice treat for the season.”
Mercy still has one more chance to get a win. The Tigers host North Branford today in a Senior Day season finale at 3:45.
“I think we can get it,” said DeRita. “We beat them last year on their senior night. I have confidence in us.”