FITCHBURG -- It has been an interesting start to the season for the Groton-Dunstable field hockey team. Some early scheduling issues led to a surprise game Wednesday evening and on Saturday, an expected 11 a.m. start turned into a noon start. The Lady Crusaders are still trying to figure things out, especially on offense, as they settled for a 0-0 tie against St. Bernard's in Fitchburg.
"We need to finish better, that is the main thing we will focus on in practice coming up," said Groton-Dunstable coach Mary Desmond. "Our execution was poor, especially on penalty corners. It has been a struggle in the early going, but I know we can get better as we move along."
The Lady Crusaders best threat of the first half came just three and a half minutes into the game. Off a deflected penalty corner pass, Lauren Kraemer collected the loose ball and fired a shot from inside 10 yards that was kicked away by Lady Bernardian goalkeeper Nicole Tessier.
After dominating the first 15 minutes of action, Groton-Dunstable hit a lull. The Lady Crusaders put two shots on net and collected three penalty corners early on, but did not pick up another shot until there was less than three minutes remaining left in the game.
Over the last 15 minutes of the first half, St. Bernard's found their footing offensively and put together their best chance in the 17th minute. Katie Keating made a long run down the right side before cutting to the middle and unleashing a shot from eight
Early in the second half, Groton-Dunstable could not get anything going, as they committed a number of unforced errors. Luckily for them, the Lady Bernardians were unable to capitalize, putting just one shot on net that went wide as the offenses continued to sputter.
With 10 minutes left, the Lady Crusaders finally started to show some signs of life. They were awarded five penalty corners over the remainder of the game. Despite the aggression, Groton-Dunstable could not put anything on target until the 58th minute.
Off a penalty corner, Livy Penney sent a pass to the middle of the box. Lauren Johnson was there to redirect the ball towards the upper right corner, but Tessier was there to slap the ball away. In the final minute, a mad scramble in front of the St. Bernard's net did not garner any shots, and the game ended in a scoreless tie.
"We showed some life late, but we just could not find the back of the net," said Desmond. "I thought our defensive effort was outstanding, and we did a great job of limiting their chances. Rebecca Romich did a nice job defensively and Livy played a solid all-around game. There are positives to take from this, but we have to improve offensively."