Cowbells in Cowtown

Sam Chambers
For the third year in a row, St. John’s Field Hockey will play in the SPC championship game. This time, they earned their way into the finals by withstanding a five-hour bus ride, strong south winds, and two tough opponents from Cowtown, host city Fort Worth.
The Mavericks held off All Saints’ 2-1 in a physical first round game. Carly Gamson ’13 scored the lone goal of the first half and Amanda Leavell ’13got the game winner early in the second period. The Saints scored with five minutes to play, and St. John’s held on for the regulation win. Within a couple of hours St. John’s was back on the field to face a familiar foe, the Fort Worth Country Day Falcons. After St. John’s captured the championship in 2008, ending a 27-year hiatus of titles, Fort Worth Country Day knocked the Mavericks out in the 2009 semi-finals. The current Falcons were on their own turf, had defeated St. John’s earlier in the season, and took the Mavericks to strokes in last years’ championship game, which St. John’s narrowly won.
With the FWCD home crowd stacked on the sidelines sounding air horns, shouting in megaphones, and chanting “Let’s Go Falcons,” St. John’s fans matched the ruckus with cowbells and waves of support from the Maverick Volleyball and Cross Country teams.
Both teams fought hard through 60 minutes of regulation and 10 minutes of 7 on 7, but each team came up empty in the scoring column. St. John’s controlled most of the tempo and scored what appeared to be a goal by Paige Albert '14 in the 27th minute of the second half, but it was waved off due to an early whistle. FWCD got another break at the 7:00 minute mark on a Maverick yellow card, but even though the Mavericks were down to 10 players for five minutes, St. John’s still denied the Falcons any significant advances to the goal, and the game would go to strokes.
As in last year’s title game, as in the 2009 semi-finals, once again these two programs would have to settle the score on the best of five shots from each team. Both squads assembled at the south goal, closest to the Falcon crowd.
Robby Rybarczyk ’13 converted her first shot and FWCD answered for a 1-1 score while fans screamed in excitement. After both teams missed their next shots, Sam Night ’13 converted for what would be the game winner, due in part to Kelsey Bing’s ’16 four saves in the goal.
“I’ve played lots of different sports and have learned to tune out the crowd,” said Bing.
While today’s effort was a good test of their mettle, the Mavericks will have to reload for tomorrow in the finals against the Hockaday Daisies, the #1 seed from the SPC North.   The Mavericks defeated the Daisies in the 2008 championship, but lost them in the 2010 championship and have traded titles in lacrosse in recent years.   Hockaday defeated Kinkaid earlier in the day and according to Assistant Coach Jack Daniel ’81 the 2012 Daisies are very skilled and well coached.
“It will take a lot of communication and heart,” said Abby Avery ’14.
“We feel like we have something to prove,” said Night.  
“We were fired up today and we are ready for tomorrow,” said Gamson.
“It was unfortunate to go to strokes today, but the girls played their guts out,” said Head Coach Craig Chambers ’81.
Whether tomorrow’s championship game ends in regulation, 7 on 7, or strokes, you can count on one thing: Maverick cowbells will be heard, loud and proud, in Cowtown, Texas.
Sam Chambers- Athletic News