If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
That could've easily been the motto of the field hockey team on Tuesday, as they overcame a multitude of failed attempts, and finally recorded a 2-1 victory in overtime against West Deptford High School.
A beautifully executed counterattack sparked the day's winning goal.
At the onset of overtime, West Deptford's Eagles came down with a great chance to end the game early: a 3-on-2 break. When Panthers senior goalie Allison Hawco left her net to kick the ball away, junior midfielder Melissa Cunningham was able to knock a shot from the side out-of-bounds, giving West Deptford a corner.
“I was thinking that it was a 50-50 ball, and I’ve been good on my punch-close so far in my life, might as well go for it,” Hawco said. “Thankfully, my defender was there.”
Collingswood handled the corner without any damage, then sprinted the opposite way on a 4-on-1 break just before a foul gave West Deptford a chance to recover.
The Panthers were awarded a corner, which junior Shauna LaMaina was able to bring home, giving Collingswood a thrilling victory and setting the crowd into a frenzy.
“That’s been kind of our thing this season. We struggled with (finishing) a lot last season, and it’s something that we’ve really worked on,” Panthers head coach Val Dayton said. “We’ve worked on really getting on the pads, and working on deflections.”
Hawco's actions as goalie were huge throughout the game, securing eight saves and making any pressure that Eagles applied look easy.
“Big teams like that, the pressure is always on,” Hawco said of the Eagles.
After a scoreless half, Collingswood took the game's first goal in the second, on Krista LaMaina with 17:50 to go. Eagles responded quickly, with Sydney Ponto scoring off a West Deptford corner with 14:24 left.
With little over three minutes left, Hawco made a huge save to keep the game knotted-up after regulation.
Each team caught major breaks in the first half, as Panthers and Eagles each had a goal waved off due to outside-the-box shots.
With the win, Panthers improved to 4-1 on the year. And if they plan on contending in the division, as Dayton hopes to do, victories like Tuesday's will go a long way.
Collingswood travels to Audubon High School this Friday, and will follow suit with a non-conference home game against Lawrenceville Preparatory High School on Saturday.