Julia Kline Stellar in Pinelands Field Hockey Squad’s OT Loss to Jackson Liberty
Julia Kline did everything she had to do to keep the Pinelands Regional field hockey team in its Shore Conference Class B South clash with Jackson Liberty on Sept. 10. The junior goaltender made diving saves, sprawling saves and stick saves. She charged out after oncoming forwards. She even cut down a breakaway opportunity for the Lions late in the second half.
“Julia’s the rock of our team,” said senior Madison Dancisin following a 1-0, overtime loss during which Kline made 14 saves, most from close range. “We can always rely on her to be at her best. She comes out and plays hard all the time, and she always gives us that sense of security you want from your goaltender.
“But she can only do so much. Sometimes, a goal gets through.”
After 70 minutes of regulation play, Liberty eventually cracked through the wall that was Kline, when Jade Rivera got behind the defense, beat Kline to a loose ball about 12 yards from the goal cage and got enough of a tap on the ball to slip it by the charging goalie with six minutes left in overtime.
“Julia’s an incredible goalie,” said coach Liz Law, whose squad started the season 1-1, which included a 4-1 win over Donovan Catholic on Sept. 8 in Pinelands’ opener. “She eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. And the improvements she’s made to her game since last season are incredible as well. Her mental game is so much better. She’s a phenomenal communicator. And she was huge for us in so many situations today.”
The Lions started pressuring the Wildcats’ defense immediately, getting off a solid shot within the first minute of play. Liberty managed several more scoring chances during the first half, but Kline thwarted the Lions at every turn.
In the second half, Liberty had its best scoring chance in regulation when it was awarded a penalty stroke with 20:45 left, but Kline again came up with the big save, keeping the game a scoreless tie.
The Wildcats eventually mustered a counterattack that developed into multiple scoring chances late in the second half, as Dancisin’s hammer shot from 15 yards was deflected wide of the cage with 7:12 to go and another power shot from sophomore Rachel Papernik also was deflected wide just over a minute later.
Still, the Lions pressed the Pinelands’ defense and nearly came away with a goal on a semi-breakaway with just under a minute to go. That time, Lisa Tarnow broke up the play.
But Liberty’s momentum carried into overtime, and with 7:08 left in OT Kline made two crucial stops during a corner opportunity for the Lions. After Kline stopped the initial shot from near the top of the circle, she sprawled to make another save on the rebound.
Ultimately, the Lions got one too many fortunate bounces and one too many scoring chances. Still, despite being heavily outshot, Dancisin said the loss will help her crew as they move forward this season.
“We’re going to bounce back fine,” she said. “We’re strong. We’re tough. Sure, we’re upset now, but we’re going to come back stronger. We’re pretty good at letting things roll off our shoulders, but this is going to fire us up to get better. It’s just a good thing this loss happened early in the season and not 10 games from now. It gives us the chance to really learn from it and grow.”
Pinelands was playing without junior Brianna Suralik, who sustained a hand injury during the opener and was sidelined for at least a week. Nonetheless, Law agreed that the loss, especially coming against a very good opponent, will be a benefit to her team.
“This was great for us,” she said. “We learned some lessons today. The fact we were playing without Brianna, who’s a force when she’s out on the field, and we were right there with a really good team says a lot for us. But this will make us better. We can go up from here.”
Against the Griffins, Suralik scored the first goal of the season, while Susie Cardillo scored twice and Brianna Triebel added another. Dancisin and Madison Hawkins each had assists.
— David Biggy