2022.10.25 Field Hockey: Riverside @ Independence

Ashburn, VA (October 25, 2022) - The Riverside Rams had lost only twice in the 2022 Potomac District regular season. Both times, the team on the other side of the field was the Independence Tigers, and both times the final score was the same, 2-1. No one else had really come close to beating the Tigers, who finished with an unblemished record and the regular season title.

In this, their third meeting, the district tournament championship was on the line in addition to higher seeding in Region 5D tournament play and a home game in at least the opening round. This match also offered the Rams a chance for redemption on the Tigers' home turf.

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

In games like this--with teams so closely matched--there is usually a "feeling out" period when the run of play is primarily at midfield with neither team mounting much of a threat to the opposing defense. But that's not the way this game started.

With just two minutes gone in the first period, Sami Goin pushed into the Riverside defensive third and caused a scramble in front of the Rams' goal cage. After a couple of rapid fire shots were blocked, Carly Van Benten found a loose ball and deposited it into the cage for a surprisingly early 1-0 lead.

With that initial goal coming so quickly, it felt like Independence might be heading toward an easier win than in the previous two meetings, but, again, that was not the case. For the rest of the first half--and the first nine minutes of the third quarter--neither team could crack the opposing defense.

While the Rams had trouble penetrating the Tigers' penalty circle, Independence repeatedly made Riverside goalie Ella Bowman kick away shots to keep the margin from widening. And all of that effort paid off for the Rams when the opportunistic Amanda Martin tied the score at 1-1, finishing one of the few great chances Riverside had in the game. Suddenly, it was a new game.

Overtime looked like a distinct possibility as the time remaining began to wind down with no further scoring. Opportunities were more plentiful near the Riverside cage as the Tigers bore down on Bowman who brilliantly kicked away shots from the powerful Independence attack as her teammates swept away rebounds. But that stall could only last so long, and in the 55th minute the Tigers' Elle Patterson finished a shot to give Independence the game winner and that familiar 2-1 result.

With their victory, Independence will host Mountain View for a regional quarterfinal. Riverside will head to Albermarle for their match. The two teams could play again, but they'll both have to advance to the regional final to do so.

Final Score: Independence 2 - Riverside 1

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