Saturday, October 27, 2012

Providence Day falls in NCISAA field hockey finals

CARY—The awards ceremony following Saturday’s N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) field hockey state final at Cary Academy had concluded. After 1 p.m., a single white ball, still, laid against the inside left wall of the goal where Providence Day’s historic 2012 campaign ended.

There landed a shot by Durham Academy’s Jordan Barry, whose offering from the left end line with 3:40 remaining in the second 10-minute overtime session cemented a 2-1 count that thwarted the Chargers’ championship bid in Providence Day’s inaugural title match.

Moments thereafter, Chargers coach Miki Osherow did not hold back her tears.

“Look at what happened. You came together. It was an absolutely amazing thing,” Osherow told her players.

“I’m tearing up because I want you to know how proud I am.”

The outcome was a fortune reversal from Providence Day’s 1-0 win in the teams’ Oct. 5 meeting on the Sardis Road campus. Saturday’s contest completed two days of competition in which seedings had little meaning. The third seeded Chargers (14-5), one position ahead of Durham Academy, survived Friday’s semifinals versus No. 2 Charlotte Latin and top-seeded Charlotte Country Day, respectively.

Saturday, Barry opened the scoring with a straight-on 10-yarder with 21:03 to go before halftime. Providence Day’s Mackenzie Busby knotted the count, again, inside of two minutes left in the opening stanza. A defensive battle ensued throughout the second half.

The Chargers, however, found themselves pinned in the Cavaliers’ attacking zone for most of overtime’s 16-plus minutes. Durham Academy (14-2) managed the lone, post-regulation solid scoring chance before the championship clincher 30 seconds into the second overtime stanza. Providence Day goalkeeper Meredith Clay smothered Robin Blazing’s shot from just above the left side of the crease.

“We spread the field a lot and allowed them to pass,” Osherow said. “We weren’t denying the pass like we were in the beginning.

“We got a couple of opportunities to score. We just didn’t capitalize on it.”

Durham Academy coach Judy Chandler was confident entering overtime, during which seven players competed for each team.

“I always believe my seven are better than anybody in the state,” Chandler said.

“I thought (Clay) had it for sure. I didn’t think (Barry) had any angle that was open, and somehow, she found it.”