Brown and Crandall pace Eagles’ win over Saints

Sometimes the stats don’t lie. In a game that was decided in the first half, the Covenant field hockey team made the most of their chances, while St. Anne’s-Belfield could not.

“We had two short corners and couldn’t score on either, when they got their short corners they scored,” said STAB coach Brian Bartholomew. “You need to score when you get those chances.”

Coming off a huge win against Cape Henry over the weekend, the second ranked VISAA Division 2 Eagles put the pressure on the Saints early. And after Taylor Brown missed wide-left and then wide-right on a pair of scoring chances, she made the most of short corner pass then helped Mallory Crandall net the game’s only other goal while Covenant’s defense preserved its sixth straight shutout in a 2-0 win.

“That’s a struggle in this sport and you even see it in the college game,” said Eagles coach Katie Lavie. “Getting that first goal is such a swing of momentum. Scoring first was kind of that tangible thing that everyone was able to rally around.”

The first 10 minutes of the game had a back and forth pace, but eager to put her team out in front, Brown pushed Covenant towards the net and cranked a pair of shots two minutes apart that just missed the back of the cage and stuck the opposite sides instead. After failing to score on a break away in which she was up against five defenders, the Eagles earned the second of their three first half short corners. Virginia Dittmar put it on Brown’s stick, and one heavy swing later Covenant up was 1-0 with seven minutes left in the first half.

“It’s hard to judge when to take a shot,” Brown said. “The first few times, I know its hard to score from the corners,  but I wanted to try even though there’s not much space. But then Virginia gave me a perfect set up on the short corner, and you couldn’t ask for anything better.”

With just under two minutes to play the Eagles earned another short corner, and when STAB appeared to have successfully defended the play, Brown worked the ball over to Crandall who unloaded on a shot from the top right portion of the circle in to the left corner of the cage.

“Taylor and I were just going back and forth on give-and-go’s,” Crandall said. “I had the open shot on a far angle. I lifted it and wasn’t sure if it was going to go in or not, but it went through everyone and made it into the goal.”

With a comfortable lead, the Eagles continued to apply pressure in the second half, but the Saints’ defense held and kept from enduring any further damage. On the other side of the field, the Covenant defense was able to breathe easy as STAB was unable to create any scoring chances to keep its eighth shutout of the year in tact.

“They were able to put a lot of pressure on us in the second half, but also a 2-goal lead is very tough psychologically,” Bartholomew said. “I thought Covenant really moved the ball well on us in the second half.”

STAB had just one shot on the game and it came on its first short corner.

The Saints (3-6) travel to Orange County on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Eagles (9-2) host St. Margarets on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.