Fall sports

Two goals from Caroline Nemec and Vivi Caruso led Sacred Heart field hockey team past visiting NEPSAC rival Taft

Photo by David Fierro: Erin Griffin of Sacred Heart, left, battles for the ball during the Tigers’ home game against Taft School on Sept. 22, 2021. Sacred Heart notched a 4-2 win to remain undefeated.

After cruising to decisive victories in its first three games of the season, the Sacred Heart Greenwich field hockey team found itself in a tight matchup against a tough Taft team, as the score was tied midway through the third quarter.

Yet the Tigers finished strong and in doing so, added another impressive win to their ledger on Wednesday.

Two goals apiece from senior co-captain Caroline Nemec and junior Vivi Caruso propelled Sacred Heart past Taft, 4-2. The victory moved the Tigers’ record to a perfect 4-0.

“It was a competitive game, they’re a really good team and they really stood out today,” said Nemec, a center midfielder, who has committed to play field hockey at the University of Virginia. They’re definitely going to be a contender this season and we’ll see them in the future.”

Taft (1-1) scored the game’s first goal, then Sacred Heart responded with two straight tallies to enter halftime with a 2-1 lead. Following a goal by visiting Taft early in the third quarter, Sacred Heart scored the final two goals of the NESPAC matchup.

“Taft is a very strong team, they came out very strong and put us under a lot of pressure,” Sacred Heart coach Alex Gheorghe said. “They are very physical as well and we are just happy we got the win. The whole team worked hard and came together for this win.”

Delfina Gonzalez Jobo of Sacred Heart moves the ball up the field against Taft School on Sept. 22, 2021.

The Tigers trailed for the first time this season, after Taft tallied the first goal of the afternoon, following a scoreless opening quarter. With Taft on a penalty corner, junior Emma Cook sent the insert pass to sophomore Maisy Ricciardelli, who scored, giving her team a 1-0 edge with 7:52 remaining in the second quarter.

Sacred Heart had a quick response, though. At the 6:19 mark of the second quarter, Caruso lifted a high shot over the right shoulder of Taft’s goalie, evening the score at 1-1. With 4:11 left in the second quarter, Sacred Heart seized a 2-1 advantage after drawing a penalty corner.

Junior Ines Araujo directed her insert pass on the penalty corner to Caroline Nemec, who sent a hard drive inside the cage, making it 2-1. Sacred Heart, which outscored its opponents 20-0 during its first three wins of its 2021 campaign, saw Taft tie the score at 2-2 when senior Callia Ferraris knocked a shot past goalie Teresa Harkins off a scramble in front of the goal with 9:38 to go in the second quarter.

SHG had another pretty quick response, however. Caroline Nemec scored off another penalty corner, this time with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter, putting the host Tigers on top, 3-2.

“We wanted to get the shot off as quick as possible,” said Nemec, whose sisters Kate and Charley also had strong games for the Tigers. “They’re a fast-paced team, so when we get that insert off quickly and shot off quickly, it was really beneficial for us.”

Emma Marvin of Sacred Heart controls the ball near the midfield during a game against Taft School.

Still ahead by one goal, the Tigers padded their lead when Caruso tallied in transition on a 2-on-1 at the 2:33 mark of the fourth quarter. Junior Delfina Gonzalez Lobo crossed the ball to Caruso, who while cutting toward the goal, knocked her shot home, making it 3-1.

“It was a really great pass to Delfina and we just did a give-and-go and we sort of just faked the goalie out, which led to a really nice goal,” Caruso said.

Indeed, Sacred Heart raised its level of play in the second half.

“I definitely think we got stronger in the end,” Sacred Heart senior midfielder/co-captain Erin Griffin said. “I think we realized how to recover for each other. We had really good transfer passes, playing it to the middle and out to the side and I think that’s how we generated a lot of our goals in the second half.”

“They are a strong team and super fast, but we held our own and we really worked together and our passes remained strong,” Griffin continued. “Our team as a whole passes fast and moves fast.”

Sacred Heart welcomed competing in a close game, given the challenges it should face this weekend at the three-day MAX Field Hockey Invitational in Pennsylvania. Currently, Sacred Heart is ranked No. 1 in the Max Field Hockey Northeast Region Top 20 Rankings.

“It’s good we were challenged, since we are going to be in the MAX prep tournament this weekend, which is going to be the top schools in the country,” Caruso said. “I think it will be good for us to learn when we play in more competitive games throughout the season.”

Said Gheorghe: “We’re looking forward to it, we know we are going to play against some really tough opponents – some of the top high schools in the country. We are going to use this tournament as preparation for the rest of our season.”

Following this weekend’s upcoming tournament, Sacred Heart hosts Oak Knoll from New Jersey on Oct. 2.

“It’s early in the season and there’s a lot more work to do, but we’re off to a  really good start and I really like the way we’re all working together,” Caroline Nemec said.

Sacred Heart posted a 4-2 win over visiting Taft School.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s