TOWNSEND -- North Middlesex's field hockey team has faced some rough patches over the course of the season, as they currently rest in last place of the Midland-B league with an overall record of 1-7-2, 0-1 in the conference. North Middlesex and Gardner played to a 2-2 tie on a raw, rainy autumn afternoon.
Both teams came out strong right from the opening possession. The Wildcats took the ball first, but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities in the first stanza.
North Middlesex head coach Kelly Marciano was impressed with her team's performance.
"My team played very well inside the 25, where we have been struggling. I thought we were strong transition wise. I thought it was a super team effort."
It wouldn't be until late in the first half when North Middlesex sophomore Marie Shepherd rattled the lower left portion of the cage on a crystal clear pass knifed in by senior Dainelle Kobleigh to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead with 5:00 left to go in the first half.
Marciano commented on the two-goal performance by Shepard saying, "Marie is a sophomore who has been coming on strong. Our option is always to have our head up and pass before we dribble, that's what really got us going and our ability to pass the ball well."
Gardner's Jocelyn Johnson leveled the score at 1-1 with 24:50 remaining in the game, with the assist credited to Courtney Braman.
Shepherd scored her second goal, as she dipped and weaved away from the defender
The North Middlesex faithful erupted when Christiana Roszik wound up and let loose a slap shot from just inside the scoring circle that found the back right corner of the net. Patriots fans thought their team had jumped out to a commanding two-goal lead until the officials ruled the goal too high and it was disallowed, keeping the score at 2-1.
Gardner wouldn't go down without a fight, as sophomore Allison Kleeman fired a scorcher past North Middlesex keeper Olivia Dineen to tie it up at 2-2 with just 2:25 left in the game.
Time would expire as the Wildcats move to 3-5-1 on the season, while the Patriots record now stands at 1-7-2.