Vicki Gallivan’s 7 goals help Kennett hold off West Chester Rustin

KENNETT SQUARE — Thursday afternoon’s Ches-Mont League shootout between Kennett and West Chester Rustin included 31 total goals and five lead changes and three ties in the secon half. In the end, the Blue Demons captured the back-and-forth affair, handing the Golden Knights their first loss of the season, 17-14 at Legacy Field.

Kennett (1-0, 3-2) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with the help of Vicki Gallivan. The sophomore scored two of her game-high seven goals in the first six minutes.

“I thought our chemistry was really good on offense,’ Gallivan said. “We moved around really well. Once we won draws and got down the field, we were able to move and get open.’

With the Blue Demons’ momentum surging, Golden Knights coach Mike St. Clair called a timeout.

“I told them this isn’t the way we play and this was not going to be the way we continue to play. We needed to set up our offense and get back to basics,’ St. Clair said.

When play resumed, the Rustin (0-1, 3-1) offense came alive. Senior-attack Kristen Hoy put her team on the board when she spun around and buried a shot over goalie Tori Hodges’s right shoulder.

Four minutes later Hoy received a beautiful pass from Tina St. Clair and beat Hodges low right. The two goals broke the home team’s momentum and started to give the young Rustin team some life.”Well after we were down five goals our whole team knew that we needed to step it up. After the time out our team was determined to get back in this game and give Kennett a fight they probably were not expecting. Personally, I was going to try to do everything I could to help get us back in the game. Together we got the ball on attack and it just happened that I saw the opportunities to score and I capitalized on it. It would not have been possible without everyone on the team wanting to come back,’ Hoy said.

They ended the half with an offensive flurry, scoring six of the last eight goals, including a Michelle Chessock goal with four seconds remaining.

Clinging to a 7-6 lead at the start of the second half, Kennett struggled to stop the visitors’ offense.

Three and a half minutes into the final frame Rustin took their first lead courtesy of Hoy’s fourth goal of the game.

After Tori Cugini made it 9-7, Kennett found themselves with their backs to the wall. Blowing a five-goal lead at home to a team they dismantled 16-3 the previous year provided them a serious gut check.

Gallivan helped the Blue Demons regain the energy when she lasered a shot past goalie Kyra Harkins’s shoulder on an eight-meter penalty.

“I shot high the first time I scored and it went in. I just kept doing it until it stopped working,’ Gallivan said.

16 seconds later Carli Heimann (six goals) tied the game up when she got past the defense off the draw.

Rustin would not go away. After winning the ensuing faceoff, Chessock went down the field and and deposited a bouncing shot with her back to the net.

The see-saw battle continued for the next five minutes. Rustin went up 10-9, Gallivan tied it 10-10. Rustin led 11-10, Gallivan answered to make it 11-11.

“None of us gave up today,’ Gallivan said. “We really lifted each other up and were confident. You just have to keep fighting when you go down.’

With 15 minutes left in the game, Heimann put the Blue Demons in front for good when she went five-hole on Harkins.

Five unanswered goals helped the home team open up a 15-11 lead. One of the key reasons for the late-offensive outpouring was their success on faceoffs. Aubrey Robinson was key, winning seven draws for her team.

“The draws were really big for our offense today,’ Robinson said. “If you can’t win those then it’s really tough to get possession and score.’

While the game did not transpire as smoothly as Kennett envisioned, they were more then happy to pull out the victory.

“It’s a monster win,’ coach Dale Watkins said. “It’s huge to get a win in the league. We needed to win today. We needed this for our morale and our team spirit. They didn’t let up, and they kept plugging away. I told them good things happen when you don’t give up.’

The Golden Knights have made many visible signs of improvement in St. Clair’s first season at the helm. Last year their average margin of defeat to teams with winning records was 15 goals, losing by three to a talented team like Kennett is a step in the right direction. On top of that they have already matched their win total from 2014.

“These girls work really hard,’ St. Clair said. “We are a very young team. They are going to continue to get better and better and I think our program’s future is very bright.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply