Brookman advances the ball

Randolph-Macon sophomore midfielder Katie Brookman tries to advance the ball on Roanoke defender Claire Eisenhart during the Maroons’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Yellow Jackets in a 2019 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship Quarterfinal on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2019, at Day Field. Randolph-Macon ends the season with a 10-9 record.

ASHLAND – Earning its first home game in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship tournament in seven years, Randolph-Macon field hockey was confident entering its quarterfinal against Roanoke on Nov. 5, a team the Yellow Jackets defeated 3-1 in the regular season.

But nothing is guaranteed come the postseason, and the battle between the Yellow Jackets and Maroons emphasized defense and became a game of inches. The teams ended regulation tied at 2. Roanoke took advantage of a player advantage late, and on a 2-on-1 fast break, Emilee Wooten sent a shot into the goal ending the Yellow Jackets’ season at 10-9 with a 3-2 defeat.

The game could have been decided in regulation when, on one of the Yellow Jackets’ four penalty corners of the final period, a Katie Brookman shot that blasted past goalkeeper Emma Clark was ruled too high, and disallowed.

Maria Teresa Ambrogi-Torres scored both goals for the Yellow Jackets: one in the first period, another in the third for a 2-1 lead. But a Lauren Heffron goal for the Maroons with 5:56 left in regulation tied it, setting up the near miss, then, in overtime, heartbreak for Randolph-Macon.

“We just missed on the post twice. We definitely capitalized early and had some scoring opportunities,” said Randolph-Macon head coach Jess Weiss when explaining overtime strategy. “We thought we had a great game plan to attack the goal on the corner, it’s just unfortunate we couldn’t come up with the rebound.”

Clark had 15 saves for Roanoke, while Gatlin Snyder had six for Randolph-Macon.

The Yellow Jackets continue to rebuild a program that Weiss took over in 2016, only winning three times that year. Improving from eight wins in 2018 to 10 in 2019, the Yellow Jackets went from traveling to Roanoke a season ago, falling 1-0 in the ODAC quarterfinals, to hosting this year.

Despite this year’s heartbreak, the future is bright, and Weiss’ roster includes players with wisdom beyond their years.

“One of our juniors stepped up and said, ‘At the end of the day, sports are made to have a winner and loser.’ But the fact this program is where it is, the strides we’ve made, the friendships they’ve made, and the respect they have for each other, they’ve learned so many life lessons,” Weiss said. “For me to not have to step in and comment on the culture this program has built, that, to me, shows the type of people that they are.”

Rob Witham can be reached at sports@mechlocal.com.

ASHLAND – Earning its first home game in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship tournament in seven years, Randolph-Macon field hockey was confident entering its quarterfinal against Roanoke on Nov. 5, a team the Yellow Jackets defeated 3-1 in the regular season.

But nothing is guaranteed come the postseason, and the battle between the Yellow Jackets and Maroons emphasized defense and became a game of inches. The teams ended regulation tied at 2. Roanoke took advantage of a player advantage late, and on a 2-on-1 fast break, Emilee Wooten sent a shot into the goal ending the Yellow Jackets’ season at 10-9 with a 3-2 defeat.

The game could have been decided in regulation when, on one of the Yellow Jackets’ four penalty corners of the final period, a Katie Brookman shot that blasted past goalkeeper Emma Clark was ruled too high, and disallowed.

Maria Teresa Ambrogi-Torres scored both goals for the Yellow Jackets: one in the first period, another in the third for a 2-1 lead. But a Lauren Heffron goal for the Maroons with 5:56 left in regulation tied it, setting up the near miss, then, in overtime, heartbreak for Randolph-Macon.

“We just missed on the post twice. We definitely capitalized early and had some scoring opportunities,” said Randolph-Macon head coach Jess Weiss when explaining overtime strategy. “We thought we had a great game plan to attack the goal on the corner, it’s just unfortunate we couldn’t come up with the rebound.”

Clark had 15 saves for Roanoke, while Gatlin Snyder had six for Randolph-Macon.

The Yellow Jackets continue to rebuild a program that Weiss took over in 2016, only winning three times that year. Improving from eight wins in 2018 to 10 in 2019, the Yellow Jackets went from traveling to Roanoke a season ago, falling 1-0 in the ODAC quarterfinals, to hosting this year.

Despite this year’s heartbreak, the future is bright, and Weiss’ roster includes players with wisdom beyond their years.

“One of our juniors stepped up and said, ‘At the end of the day, sports are made to have a winner and loser.’ But the fact this program is where it is, the strides we’ve made, the friendships they’ve made, and the respect they have for each other, they’ve learned so many life lessons,” Weiss said. “For me to not have to step in and comment on the culture this program has built, that, to me, shows the type of people that they are.”

Rob Witham can be reached at sports@mechlocal.com.

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