Connect with us

Field Hockey

Kennett shuts out Rustin to gain edge in Ches-Mont American

By Bill Rudick

KENNETT SQUARE—Since falling to Garnet Valley–the only unbeaten team in District 1– three weeks ago, the Kennett Blue Demons have reeled off seven straight wins, outscoring the opposition 43-2 during the streak. The latest victim was Rustin, with Kennett (10-3, 7-1) grabbing an advantage in the Ches-Mont American standings with a 3-0 blanking of the Golden Knights (7-5, 6-2).

“We came out really strong today,” said Kennett coach Megan Shumway. “Our passing connections have improved so much throughout the season and this team is really starting to gel.”

Jordyn MacMillan, Maddie Sears and Steph Oleykowksi move out on a corner defense (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

Rustin had the first opportunity of the game, forcing a penalty corner barely two minutes in. But Kennett goalie Maddie Sears and the rest of the Blue Demon corner defense quickly cleared it.

“Rustin beat us twice last year, so we really wanted to get the win today,” said Kennett defender Mia Gruce, who had a defensive save in the shutout. “We have a bunch of freshmen helping out on defense, and they were just all over the field today. This is a tight team with really good teamwork. We’re really excited to play together.”

That early defensive effort seemed to energize the Blue Demons, as they really took control of both ends of the field the rest of the way, dominating possessions and limiting the Knights’ trips inside the circle. The Blue Demons outshot Rustin 18-5, and held an 8-4 advantage in penalty corners.

Kennett finally got on the board just about halfway through the period, when Devon Johnson put a ball on Ainsley Albert’s stick, and Albert slipped it in behind the Rustin goalie for the 1-0 lead.

Kennett’s Ainsley Albert (far right) scores the first goal of the game (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

“It was pretty crowded around the cage, but then I saw Devon make a beautiful pass across the goal,” said Albert. “From there it was a pretty easy shot, so that one was all Devon.”

The Blue Demons made it 2-0 just before the break when Steph Oleykowski fed Vivian Chiomento, and the latter put it in for the score with just 27-seconds left in the half.

Awarded a corner seven minutes into the second half, Johnson picked up her second assist of the game, passing off to Emma Schwarz, who let loose with an absolute bullet of a shot off the wood on the far side of the cage.

“In the beginning of the season, we tended to struggle to finish,” said Shumway. “But we seem to have our line-up down with people in the right sports and playing well as a unit. Our defense, even though they are young, they are improving every time they step on the field, and Mia has just really been stepping up—nothing gets past her.”

Kennett’s Steph Oleykowski works the ball around Rustin’s Morgan Becker (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

Kennett moves to No. 10 in the District 1, Class AAA rankings, and is starting to look like a team that can make a deep post-season run.

“They are gaining confidence more and more with every game,” said Shumway. “We’re looking forward to getting to play in the playoffs and going further than we ever have.”

Rustin, meanwhile, remains in the hunt for the league title, and is also highly likely to be playing in the post-season, ranked 16 in the district, with the top 24 teams earning a playoff bid.

“We have a lot we need to work on, obviously,” said Rustin coach Amy Walsh. “Kennett was a better team, and did all the little things we didn’t do. We’re still confident, and will just get back to work and get back to playing the way we know we can play.”

Rustin 0 0 –0
Kennett 2 1 –3

Goals: Albert, Chiomento, Schwarz
Goalie Saves: Mattie ( R ) 15, Sears (K) 3

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

1 × five =



Latest Headlines


On Twitter

More in Field Hockey