Surging in the second half
Hurricanes score seven goals in final 30 minutes
Judging by the matching ice packs on their knees following their field hockey team’s game against the visiting Northern Patriots on Tuesday afternoon, one might have assumed that Huntingtown’s Alexa and Kenley Zeruto had been involved in the type of high-pressure battle typical of the rivalry between the Calvert County squads.
And for a half, they were, but the host Hurricanes exploded for seven unanswered goals in the second half to take a 9-2 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division decision from the Patriots.
“For some reason we’re always a second-half team,” Alexa
Zeruto said. “We come out a little bit nervous, but we picked it up in the second half. Our deflections were better, we were sealing off the post, which is huge because we had a lot of balls going straight past in the first half. Our drives were on point, we were block tackling on defense, which is another huge thing that we’ve been working on for a week.”
Northern (4-1, 1-1 SMAC Chesapeake) had not surrendered a goal through its first four games, but allowed two by the midpoint of the first half against Huntingtown (5-1, 1-1), as Alexa Zeruto and Taya Sirman slipped shots into the cage to give the hosts the early 2-0 lead. But the Patriots responded with goals by Hannah Schiebach and Alayna Stewart, the latter coming in the half’s final half-minute, to knot the score at 2.
“We came in really pumped up and a little bit nervous because Northern is always our rival,” Kenley Zeruto said. “We were a little nervous in the first half. We were kind of shaky. We got the first two goals, but then they came back. In the second half we really picked it up.”
“We weren’t really playing to our potential in the first half,” Huntingtown’s Emma Pike said. “Once we had our talk at halftime and got into the second half, we played field hockey like we’re supposed to. We picked it up.”
After head coach Shannon Persectic’s motivational speech at halftime, the Hurricanes dominated the second half.
Emma Schiemer got things rolling with a pair of tallies within the first 10 minutes of the second half to put the hosts back in front and give them a 4-2 cushion. Kenley Zeruto followed with a goal, while Emma Pike then delivered a pair of her own to push the lead to 7-2. Alexa Zeruto later tacked on her second of the game, while Rebecca Yoder capped the scoring
with the Hurricanes’ ninth goal.
“They’re our rivals so we kind of went out a tad bit cocky,” Huntingtown’s Ariana Smith said. “We always go out cocky, but after they scored two goals we could have prevented we just started playing the sport we love to play. We started playing like a team, give-and-gos, and we got back.
“I think after Northern called their second time out we realized that we need to come as one and we could take them. They were just another team to get past.”
Huntingtown was scheduled to travel to Great Mills on Thursday and has a road game at Leonardtown on Tuesday next on the schedule, scheduled for 6 p.m. Northern was set to host Patuxent on Thursday and will host Thomas Stone at 4 p.m. today.
“The game was pretty evenly matched during the first half, but Huntingtown came out hungry for the win in the second half,” first-year Northern head coach CoraJo Tozzolo said of the game. “I know they have a good program with strong players, and that really showed today. The outcome was not what we hoped for, but it was a good teaching moment for our team. We know what we need to work on and we’ll be ready for our next game.”
Huntingtown’s Aggie Gullace prepares to send the ball downfield during the Hurricanes’ 9-2 win over the visiting Northern Patriots on Tuesday afternoon.