The Father Gabriel Richard field hockey team was making their third CHSL Championship Final on Saturday against rival St Catherine Academy (7-2-1 overall) in Grosse Pointe Woods. Both of the previous trips (in 2018 and 2019) had seen the Irish face off against the Stars only to fall 1-0 each time.
The Irish (CHSL third seed) got to the finals by beating Ann Arbor Greenhills 1-0 on Tuesday while the Stars (CHSL one seed) fought back to beat Sacred Heart in overtime 3-2 on Tuesday. These two teams had faced off nearly three weeks ago and St Catherines won that game 2-0.
The Stars were favored going into the game but the Irish (D2W Conference 1-4-2, Overall 7-4-3) had started to string together several solid games in a row. If history had anything to say about this game… it was going to be close and probably a one goal victory by the winner.
The first two quarters of the game confirmed this Championship was going to go down to the very end as the separation between the teams was razor thin. St Catherine’s came out of the gate strong as expected and put FGR on the defensive for the first ten minutes, but the Irish held. Then it was FGR’s turn, and though the pressure was there, the Stars also held. Neither side could break down the other and after 30 minutes, the game stood where it had started – scoreless.
The third quarter saw FGR start to get some momentum and just a little over 2 minutes in, the Irish’s leading scorer, freshman Lilli Vera, did it again with a hard shot to give FGR a 1-0 lead. FGR had a few more chances to extend the lead but couldn’t convert and for the rest of the quarter, both teams went back and forth without any further goals.
In the fourth quarter, the Stars came out strong and began getting their offensive attack on track. With 11 minutes left, St Catherine was the beneficiary of a Penalty Stroke call and Peyton Bennetts didn’t let her team down as she sent the ball past FGR goalie Emma Rushing. With the game tied 1-1, both teams did everything they could in the final minutes to get the win in regulation. The pace was fast and furious as each side had their chances for the win.
At the end of regulation, though, there were no more goals and it was only fitting the game would be decided in overtime.
Sudden victory overtime meant 10 minutes of 7v7 action. It was obvious that each team was tired from sixty minutes of running battle as the wide open field saw just a limited number of dangerous attacks. Though they tried, neither side could find open opportunities or the net. The scoreless overtime period meant there was more field hockey to be had as the teams were now headed for a shootout to determine the CHSL Champion.
In the one-v-one shootout (best of five), both goalies were able to thwart the first two attempts. On the Irish third attempt, senior Daley Fitzpatrick was tripped by the Stars’ goalie resulting in a Penalty Stroke. Sophomore Delaney Hughes took the penalty and fired the ball past the goalie for the goal. FGR goalie Rushing then stopped St Catherines’s third attempt. FGR’s fourth attempt was also by Hughes who gave the Irish their second shootout goal. The Stars fourth attempt was shut down by FGR’s Rushing which secured the Irish’s shootout victory and resulted in her being mobbed by her Irish teammates.
“The game had a bit of everything,” says FGR coach Craig Flocken. “Offense, defense, drama, extra time, and excitement. Both teams gave it everything they had and it showed on the field. It was a great game of field hockey between two evenly matched teams. It was a fitting end for the CHSL Final.”
The third trip to the CHSL Finals indeed turned out to be the lucky charm for FGR as the Irish had won their very first CHSL Championship Trophy.
— Catholic League (@CHSL1926) October 2, 2021
GAME SCORING PLAYS
FGR @ 12:29: Lilli Vera
SCA @ 10:56: Peyton Bennets – PENALTY STROKE
FGR: X-X-G-G wins 2-0 (both goals scored by Delaney Hughes)
SHOTS ON GOAL
FGR – 5
SCA – 5
FGR – 1 attempts (0 successful)
SCA – 5 attempts (0 successful)
FGR – Emma Rushing (4 saves)
SCA – Kamryn Whilshe (4 saves)