Plains of Freedom – John Simo finds himself back during these games, his radical interests being pulled in both directions. Loyalty to his daughter, of course. But he can’t NB He wants his niece to do good. Even if it is to the benefit of their biggest competitor.
It was Angela who convinced her cousin Christiana to try field hockey, which helped keep softball on top in the fall. Christiana quickly immersed herself in the sport, and Angela helped her develop stick skills and learn the nuances, and she is now valedictorian at Roy C. Ketcham High School.
But what complicates matters is the fact that Angela Simo lives about 10 miles east and lives in Arlington.
“She played really well and I’m proud of her,” Angela said of Christiana after their teams’ match on Thursday. “You improved a lot last year, and you beat me several times today.”
Her team almost defeated theirs as well.
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Christiana helped anchor a Ketcham defense that stifled the Admirals until the last second, and a late Matty Betts score could have been the winner, until Angela scored an unlikely goal as time expired to force a dramatic equaliser.
“That was unbelievable!” Christiana said then, disappointment wrestling with dread. “We definitely wanted to win, but I’m very happy for her.”
In a tight, tense contest that saw no wins, this was a familiar victory.
“It’s amazing to watch them compete,” John Simo said. “I’m always rooting for Christiana, but they’re great kids and I love to see Angela do well. And somehow, we get both.”
Division I field hockey does not allow overtime in the regular season, citing the fact that darkness becomes a factor late in the evening and not all venues have lighting. Both teams have played in multiple matches this season.
But this event for Arlington, in light of the finish and who came against it, seemed as close to a victory as not winning can be. While Ketcham lived up to that point, enjoying a turnaround season, the Admirals struggled in September and were often brought down by a poor fourth quarter.
“So, proving they can come back for themselves is something we need,” said Arlington coach Tracy Rancourt, whose team is 1-4-3. “Hopefully this will help them and we’ve gained some momentum.”
As the final seconds passed, the Admirals entered the scoring circle and committed a foul that led to a corner kick. The clock reached zero during the sequence, but Ketcham was whistled for another infraction, allowing Arlington to redo the matter.
Angela Simo received a pass from Miranda Colaccio, raced down the right wing and hit a rising liner that found a defender’s stick and deflected high into the goal, sparking celebration in front of the home fans.
“We didn’t have time, so I had to have a chance,” the senior said. “I was lucky that it worked for us.”
For Ketcham, this was understandable, and it was a heartbreak at the midpoint, having lost a hard-fought win out of their hands like that. Through stellar defense and scoring, they started with a 6-1-2 formation, vaulting them into the pantheon of elite teams in this division.
“It’s definitely frustrating when you don’t see any time left and you think you’re about to walk away with a win, and then it happens,” Betts said. “But (Arlington) put up a great fight and I respect that.”
Pardon the cliché, but this was one of those “throw records” meetings. The two teams played evenly throughout the match, neither allowing them to control the ball for long periods, and both had promising shots blocked by the defence.
Alyssa Liguori and Lily Haverkamp led an Arlington unit that contained a strong offense, and Lily DiGregorio made a defensive save near the left post early in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Christiana Simo, Katie Soff and Paige Hotel were annoying and slowed down the Admirals, turning away five penalties.
Betts broke through and put Ketcham on the board with 6:34 left, taking a pass from Julia Wickliffe toward the left post and slotting it into the near post.
The striker opened the season on a tear, scoring in almost all of his matches. “It was fun and my teammates were pushing me to keep going,” the youngster said. “Having internal motivation and confidence is also important.”
That certainly is the case, and Arlington will be hoping some confidence can be drawn from that performance as they have a string of league games coming up, including an October 6 rematch with Ketcham.
“Obviously they’re doing really well, so I think this game was big for our team in terms of building confidence in ourselves,” Angela Simo said. “This could be a turning point for us and I hope we can build on it.”
Stephen Haynes: [email protected]; 845-437-4826; Twitter: @StephenHines 4
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