TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

June 13, 2021 — Championship courage

With 2:25 to go in yesterday’s Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Committee Class L championship game, and with Guilford (Conn.) leading Redding Joel Barlow (Conn.) 10-9, a Barlow player raced to the edge of the 8-meter fan and was checked. A long, loud whistle sounded, and one of the three umpires made the signal to the scorer’s table to halt the clock to not only set the players for a free position, but to assess a yellow card.

Maddie Epke, the fine midfielder for Guilford, was sent to the penalty bench. It was her first yellow card, but it was Guilford’s fourth team yellow. By rule, the Guilford team would have to play short for the rest of regulation and any overtime which ensued.

Barlow scored to the the game at 10-10, which set up a near-crisis scenario for Guilford. Epke, who would normally take the draws as the team’s center, was off for two minutes. Someone else would have to win the draw.

Fortunately, the rules stipulate that three players remain in the center of the park when a draw was being taken. Guilford’s Hannah Tillier was able to take the draw and win it to Lorelei King.

Despite playing shorthanded in the offensive end of the field, Guilford was able to solve the Barlow defense and get the ball to M.J. Santa Barbara for a goal with 1:06 remaining in regulation, which was good enough for an 11-10 win.

The win didn’t come without further peril: Tillier would lose the next draw and Barlow got the ball to the attack zone on the power play. In that final minute, Barlow managed to get off a good shot from within eight meters, but it rang off the goalpost in the dying seconds.

Now, it’s situations like this which point out the disconnect between National Federation and NCAA rules. In college, a fourth team yellow results in a two-minute nonreleaseable penalty, after which teams return to full strength.

Perhaps the NFHS can revisit this wrinkle in the rules one day.

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