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Springfield uses weather delay, cruises past Brookfield

NEW MIDDLETOWN — The weather Thursday night offered up a little of everything.

It delayed the start of the Division III Sectional Final between the Springfield Tigers and Brookfield Warriors by an hour. Then just 11 minutes in, it delayed it for another 30 minutes.

For most teams, the starting and stopping could cause some fits, but for Springfield, the second delay came at the exact right time in Justin Kosek’s opinion as his team was tied 1-1 with the Warriors.

“After they tied it back up, the break was needed,” he added. “I felt it came at a good time. We talked about never ever ever kicking the ball to the middle of the field from defense and two of them just launched it right to that girl standing in front of the goal. We needed a break badly.”

That conversation did wonders as the Tigers scored seven minutes after the break to take a lead they would never relinquish as they came away with a 5-2 victory.

Ava Vecchione’s goal with an assist from Grace Venturella made it 1-0 Springfield (13-2-3) just three minutes into the game.

Brookfield (4-11-1) responded with a goal from Katie Gibson seven minutes later. Then the weather delay happened and the Tigers (13-2-3) were able to regroup.

“We really came in with just the intention to win the ball, play tough and aggressive, and really show up and win every ball,” Brookfield coach Erin Warrender said. “In that first half, they won every single ball out of the air. It just made it a little tough, towards the end. They got some good calls. They had some fast forwards and were able to capitalize on that. They’re amazing.”

Coming out of the break, Springfield reclaimed the lead on Venturella’s goal with 26:29 left in the first half. Springfield had Venturella up at center-mid to attack based on the need during the game.

“We play her up top a lot, a lot more than we ever have,” Kosek said. “So her getting that second one coming off of that was pretty big. Defensively, there’s stuff that we need to work on. We lost two of our inside defenders in the first three games of the year for the year, both to knee injuries, both four years starting seniors.

“The heart and soul of our team. We have two freshmen playing those positions, Hannah (Stouffer) and Kendall (Maughan). They’ve stepped up, They’re making some freshmen mistakes but they’re playing well beyond being a freshman”

It would stay 2-1 going into the second half as the Warriors were right there despite the Tigers outshooting them 10 to 3.

“We were coming into the second half trailing just 2-1,” Warrender said. “We had every ability to win the game still at that point. We’ve been a come from behind team before so that was kind of the halftime speech with that too. We were hoping that we could put some stuff together but unfortunately we fell short.”

Kaila Lamorticella’s goal just three minutes into the second half was a back breaker.

Brookfield struggled to get going with Springfield stacking up their defense with five to seven defenders back.

“He does a really good job protecting back there,” Warrender said. “It’s hard to push through five or seven people when you’re just trying to keep track of their forwards and everything at the same time.

Brionna Holt’s goal with 24:08 left made it 4-1 as the Tigers made 50 percent of their shots on goal in the second half. The Warriors were limited to just two in the second half which surprised Kosek as he felt his team was scrambling a bit in the second half.

“We kept getting breakthroughs but they possessed the ball I felt like a lot more than us,” he said. “I could be way off on that one but that’s just the way it felt. When we got up three and I was able to start moving a couple people around and realize that we didn’t need to score anymore, we never really dropped anybody else back on defense.”

The Tigers played with two holding mids and made sure that they held a lot more unless Brookfield was really pushing up towards the box and then Springfield could go up and support a little bit more.

Venturalla added her second goal of the game with 19:38 left to make it 5-1.

Brookfield scored less than a minute later on Dru Gerace’s goal.Around this time Kosek played with his lineup and took out Holt after she was carded.

“I got a little worried after they scored two that maybe I pulled Gracie a little bit early and I was getting ready to pull Kayla,” he added. “They made that second one, we left Caitlin (Cappelli) a little longer than we wanted to and eventually were able to get her out but but Brionna getting carded; it’s tournament I mean she gets a second card, she’s out two games so we took her out with slightly over 20 minutes left and never put her back in because I felt like the lead was good. We had a good enough lead that we didn’t need her.”

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