POWHATAN - Powhatan’s field hockey team is no stranger to overtime this season, having gone to three extra periods this season…
…and then – after each of those overtimes – to penalty strokes.
So when Indians senior Michala Taylor scored a goal to tie the game in the 58th minute – and overtime was imminent – Powhatan wasn’t fazed.
From there, senior goalie Emily Stephenson “stepped up in her second shootout in a row,” her head coach Steph Tyson said.
“She’s been the boss at those,” Tyson said. “That’s the third she’s won this year.”
Stephenson’s aggressive play in goal combined with the lone successful penalty stroke – shot by standout defender Ella Weber – to help the Indians achieve a come-from-behind victory over Maggie Walker Governor’s School 2-1, 1-0 in penalty strokes on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Maggie Walker dominated most of the first half, containing the Powhatan offense and spending a significant amount of time in their offensive zone.
After the Indians’ defense repelled four consecutive corner chances, Caroline Brickley scored for the Green Dragons in the 19th minute to give her team a 1-0 lead.
Powhatan had three consecutive chances at a corner in the 29th minute for the equalizer, but couldn’t beat the Maggie Walker keeper.
“I told them: Just don’t give up,” Tyson said. “They’re getting it. This is the second game we’ve come from behind to win.”
The Indians came out with renewed energy in the second half and had more consistent and quality pressure on the Green Dragons’ net.
Then, Taylor took a breakaway in the 58th minute through three defenders to beat the keeper and score.
In overtime, both teams had opportunities, but neither could get the would-be game-winning goal. Penalty strokes commenced.
Stephenson was in the net first, and she was aggressive in taking on Maggie Walker’s Erin Winters on the penalty stroke attempt.
“Typically, I’ve learned that when you’re more aggressive and louder in goal, it’s a lot more intimidating for the offensive players,” Stephenson said. “I’ve stuck with that. Coach (Margie) Baker has been a huge help this year.”
“I think (Stephenson) honestly scares some girls out there,” Tyson said with a laugh.
While Stephenson stonewalled the Green Dragons on their stroke attempts, her counterpart for Maggie Walker was doing the same as Taylor, Kaitlin Thompson and Erin Barney failed to convert on their tries.
And then Weber stepped up.
“It was a blur,” she said. “We’ve had three shootouts and that was the first that I’ve scored, so it felt good.”
Maggie Walker’s goalie was also aggressive in facing Weber, but too much so as she left the ball in play and a wide open net for Weber to score.
“My plan didn’t go as I thought,” she said. “I meant to pull, but ended up just going through and I got it.”
Weber said the win over Maggie Walker was a “big deal” to the team.
“We’re not really a second-half team,” she said. “We really came out in the second half and tied it up. It felt good.”
Powhatan (7-4) next played L.C. Bird on Oct. 2 to extend its current winning streak to three games with an 8-0 shutout of the Skyhawks. Seven different players scored for Powhatan in Wednesday’s game: Taylor, Weber, Bella Lhuillier, Ryann Overboe, Lexie Campbell, Joy Johnson and Megan Shortridge. Lhuillier led the Indians in the game with 2 goals scored.
The Powhatan Indians, as of Oct. 2 this season, are 3-for-3 in winning games when they go to penalty strokes. So if any more shootouts come up this season – particularly around playoff time – expect Stephenson and the Indians to be ready.
“Practice makes perfect,” she said. “It’s a lot of practice and it’s helpful to be in real game situations and be able to play through it. I think we’ll be ready for regionals or whatever the next big game is.”