VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – After a day of rest on Monday, all six Junior Women’s National Championship teams returned relaxed and balanced. Maybe too balanced, as all three matches on Day 3 resulted in draws and held the standings in place for another day.
The first contest of the day featured Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the 10th minute, Pennsylvania’s Janessa Pope (Lancaster, PA) dished a quick sideline pass to Rachel Sumfest (Lewisburg, PA) who was waiting in the attacking right corner. Sumfest sent a sweep into the circle where Jenna Chrismer (Mountain Top, PA) was able to receive and fire a shot on cage. The New Jersey keeper made a strong initial save, but Chrismer picked up her own rebound and sent it to net with a crisp backhand hit for 1-0 Pennsylvania lead.
Five minutes later, in the opposite circle, Tara Vittesse (Cherry Hill, NJ) received a pass to the left of the cage and with a quick pull, beat the Pennsylvania goalkeeper and evened the score at 1-1.
In the 23rd minute, Pennsylvania’s Alyssa Chillano (Phoenixville, PA) scored off a penalty corner to take the lead once again. But New Jersey, anxious for an equalizer, found it in the 33rd minute with a tally from Jessica McCarthy (Havertown, PA) evening the board at 2-2.
Pennsylvania had some great attempts to add a goal late in the first half, but New Jersey field player, Lauren Hibsham (Allentown, PA), made two back-to-back defensive saves to hold the score at 2-2.
In the 43rd minute Tara Zollinger (Jeannette, PA) fired a shot to the back of the boards giving Pennsylvania the edge for the third time in the match. Six minutes later, teammate Alyssa Chillano scored again, this time off a handy reverse chip to widen the gap to 4-2.
Not done yet, a New Jersey penalty corner shot in the 58th minute and a wide open Marie Elena Bolles (Phoenixville, PA) at the right post, resulted in a beautiful goal to take the game to 4-3.
With only 30 seconds left on the clock, no surprise that the comeback kids from New Jersey tied it up with a onetime sweep from Allison Evans (Macungie, PA). The final seconds trailed off and the game ended 4-4.
The Midwest and New England took the pitch for the second game of the day. Both teams traded corners and excellent scoring opportunities, but were unable to convert entering the locker rooms at halftime with a score of 0-0.
However, if ‘Player of the Half’ existed, it could have easily gone to sturdy Midwest goalkeeper Kathleen McGraw (Atherton, CA) who made several big saves to keep the match scoreless.
Intensity increased in the second half. In the 43rd minute, Lindsay Bennett (Kansas City, MO) intercepted a Midwest pass at the 50 yard line and took it down field for a 1 v 1 with the goalie. A Midwest defensive error resulted in a stroke, which Kim Young (Sidney, NY) successfully finished to the low left corner.
Immediately following, Sarah Drake answered with a breakaway goal to tie it up 1-1 in the 45th minute. An intense battled followed, made obvious by the seven cards awarded in the second half. Neither team found a way to finish in the circle, despite Midwest playing only 8 field players for the final ten minutes.
Mid Atlantic and South attempted to break the streak, taking the field for the final match of the day. The first half, dominated by the South, finished at a 0-0 mark.
Returning from their locker rooms, the determination to score heightened. Mid Atlantic earned two consecutive penalty corners midway through the second period, but the South defense did not budge. As time dropped to under five minutes of play, the teams made countless desperate attempts by diving for tips and chasing down loose balls.
But in the day’s common fashion, the final match of the day resulted in 0-0 draw. The standings remained as is after day 3 action. New Jersey remains at the top spot, Midwest at a close second, Mid Atlantic at a sturdy third, fourth place goes to New England, and fifth and sixth feature Pennsylvania and South, respectively.
Play continues tomorrow at 4:30 PM EST. Admission and parking are free and open to the public. All matches are played at the Virginia Beach National Training Center located at 2181 Landstown Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23456.
The game schedule is listed below with all times in local EST. Event news and results will be posted to the website daily. Live match information can be found on Twitter @USAFieldHockey.
Wednesday, June 22
• New England vs South @4:30PM
• Mid Atlantic vs New Jersey @6:15PM
• Mid West vs PA @8:00PM
Friday, June 24
• Mid Atlantic vs New Engand @4:30PM
• South vs PA @4:30PM
• New Jersey vs Mid West @6:15PM
Saturday, June 25
• 5 vs 6 @4:00PM
• 3 vs 4 @4:00PM
• 1 vs 2 @6:00PM