Roland Park Country School senior forward Caroline Seats knew the importance of big moments in Tuesday’s IAAM A Conference field hockey quarterfinal game against Archbishop Spalding. After a goal by Spalding’s Kelsey Bonner less than four minutes into the first half, the Reds were not shaken.
“All I keep saying to my team was ‘don’t give up,’” said Seats. “We got behind early but I told my team it is not over, we can do this and I had to lead by example by forcing the ball down and I just bulldozed mine down.”
“We were a little iffy to begin with, but I knew they had it within them because they knew they had Caroline [Seats] and when you have a player like that you have a lot opportunities,” said Roland Park coach Debbie Bloodsworth.
Seats did just that the Reds needed, providing the game-tying goal and following with an assist to Maggie Waxter for the eventual game winner, as the No. 4 seed bounced fifth-seeded and 11th ranked Spalding, 2-1.
Seats tied game in the 18th minute of the opening half with a goal. She found Waxter a yard away from the left goal post as the Reds advanced to a semifinal date with top-seed and No. 10 Notre Dame Prep, Thursday afternoon in Towson.
“I thought that was going to hit the right post, but I reversed the ball and flipped it to Maggie [Waxter] and she finished it. It was the best goal of the season,” said Seats.
“They [Roland Park] put a lot heart into it, Spalding had a lot of opportunities and we feel great about winning this game,” said Bloodsworth.
The Reds picked up the win with the combination of timely scoring and sound defense as the Cavaliers outshot the Reds 10-7.
With all of the scoring in the first half, both teams turned their focus to playing air tight defense. With eight minutes remaining in the game, Spalding was able to garner three straight corner opportunities over a three-minute stretch. Roland Park goalie Katherine Barley came up big, stopping three shots, including a diving lunge to keep the Cavaliers off the scoreboard.
“The defense had really stepped up in the end, said Bloodsworth. “They [Spalding] had a lot of great chances but the defense was able to stop them.”
Last year, Roland Park’s season ended in the semifinals. The Reds feel confident that they can get over the hump and make it to Championship Sunday.
“We feel great right now as a team and we are ready and we are excited to show our stuff,” said Seats. “Our team has grown so much and I am so proud of my team for what they have done.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS TAB FOR GAME HIGHLIGHTS
|Roland Park Country 2, No. 11 Archbishop Spalding 1|
S-Bonner; RP-Seats, Waxter.
S-Barley 7; RP-Rize 5.