WATERTOWN – Nonnewaug field hockey goalie Adrianna Gottmeier had only faced one penalty stroke in her career. That was earlier this season against Newtown, and to put it in the sophomore’s words, it didn’t go so well.
But on Wednesday, with the game against Litchfield – and the Berkshire League championship – on the line, Gottmeier got a second chance.
With less than five minutes left in the game, Gottmeier slapped a Litchfield penalty shot away, and then stopped a Litchfield rebound, to seal a 2-1 win against the Cowboys at Taft School on Oct. 31.
“It’s my first save on a stroke and I was excited,” Gottmeier said. “I was so happy. I was excited, screaming, jumping up and down, I couldn’t take it.”
Once Gottmeier secured the ball on the second save, she was mobbed by her teammates – just like she was after the whistle blew to end the game.
“I’m very proud of Adrianna for that,” Nonnewaug head coach Beth Tarby said. “It was a great moment for the team and a great moment for her.”
Tarby said the game was an old-fashioned battle on the field, and she felt whoever was able to hustle to the ball and get the shots was going to win it.
Litchfield got on the board first, but Ava Cawley scored an unassisted goal to put the Chiefs on the board.
Later in the first half, Cawley assisted on the game-winning goal, which was scored by senior co-captain Alyssa Renihan.
“We came out a little flat, but after we got our first goal, we settled right in.” Tarby said. “I told them offense wins games, but defense wins championships.”
“It was an old fashioned battle on the field,” Tarby said. “Whoever hustled or got the shot was going to win.”
Last season, Nonnewaug got off to a slow start under Tarby, who was named head coach after the preseason started, but fought its way back to qualify for the CIAC playoffs.
This season, the team itself set a goal to win the Berkshire League championship. With that goal achieved, the 13-3 Chiefs will set its sights on the CIAC Class S tournament.
“I’m very proud,” Renihan said while holding back tears. “We’ve worked very hard as a team to get there, and we finally did it.”