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Despite a career day on the defensive side for junior goalkeeper Claire Grenis, the App State field hockey team (4-2) fell to the No. 17 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-2) on Sunday 3-0.
Grenis saved a career high six shots on Sunday in just her second career start. The Mountaineers had another excellent showing on defense in the loss. Along with Grenis’ six saves, the Mountaineers were able to stop several more Demon Deacon scoring chances in the contest with great pressure throughout.
App State was very aggressive on offense in this contest, controlling the ball for much of the second half and putting great pressure on the Wake Forest defense. The Black & Gold drew seven corners, tying a season high, and hammering five shots on goal. The pressure was good, but none of the App State shot attempts found the back of the cage as No. 17 Wake Forest would prevail.
The Mountaineers started hot in Sunday’s contest, drawing a penalty corner just 35 seconds into the match. The team was able to take control of the ball early and generated a scoring chance, which saw Charlotte Bosma attempt the first shot of the game, missing wide.
The defense stepped up huge in the first quarter and held No. 17 Wake Forest scoreless through the first 15 minutes. Sarah Perkins made an incredible play to block a Wake Forest shot and Claire Grenis notched her first save of the game.
Despite a few Demon Deacon Scoring chances, the Mountaineer defense didn’t let any into the cage in the first quarter. The Mountaineers have now held their opposition scoreless in eight of their last nine quarters of play.
The second quarter turned in the favor of No. 17 Wake Forest, who controlled the ball for much of the quarter and put great pressure on Grenis and the defense.
Early in the quarter, Wake Forest would find the cage as Faye Janse would slip one past Grenis to record the first goal of the day. Shortly after Janse’s goal, the Demon Deacons would score again, this time coming off the stick of Rachel Thetford.
Despite the rough stretch in the quarter, App State played very well to finish out the half. They would allow just two more shots for the quarter, with Grenis grabbing another save, and apply pressure of their own on the offense. Lise Boekaar closed the half by attempting a shot that missed high, but Dinsmore liked the attack and resolve of her team to close out the half.
After 30 minutes of play, No. 17 Wake Forest led the contest 2-0 off the two second quarter goals and outshot App State 10-2.
The Mountaineers would seize control of the game coming out of the halftime break, rattling off multiple shots and drawing multiple corners. App State drew three penalty corners in the third, generating multiple chances. Birdget Donovan would attempt her first shot of the game off the first penalty corner, but had it blocked.
Later in the quarter, the Mountaineers generated a great scoring opportunity after a pass ahead from the midfield. Noa Ginjaume Matas took the pass into the circle and fired a shot that was saved by Jodi Brine. Brine tallied five saves for the match, all coming in the second half.
In the 39th minute of play, Wake Forest attempted a flurry of shots, but Grenis stood strong between the posts, saving two shots in six seconds. The two save stretch in the third would be her third and fourth of the game, setting a new career high for saves in a game.
Bridget Donovan would fire App State’s third shot of the third quarter with four minutes to play, but the Wake Forest defense played it well and stopped it. After 45 minutes of action, No. 17 Wake Forest still led 2-0.
The Mountaineers had another solid quarter of play to close out the match, applying pressure and playing great defense. Wake Forest drew two penalty corners in the final 15 minutes, but App State stood firm and thwarted both opportunities.
The aggressive play of the Mountaineers was on display all afternoon, but especially in the fourth quarter as Charlotte Bosma would attempt two shots and Hadley Kuzmicky attempted a shot off three penalty corners, but each were stopped by the defense.
The Mountaineers would attempt four shots in the quarter, but still couldn’t pay off their aggression as the Demon Deacons stopped each chance App State generated.
No. 17 Wake Forest would pick up their third goal late in the quarter to reach the game’s final score of 3-0, but Claire Grenis and the defense played another outstanding game despite the loss.
“When we press with numbers and press together, that is when we are successful,” head coach Emily Dinsmore said. “You saw that in the third and the fourth when we earned those penalty corners. Now we just need to go back to the drawing board and execute on those corners, but I’m proud of the way the team played today.”
App State will open conference play on the road on Friday against the Bellarmine Knights at Trager Stadium. First touch is scheduled for 3 p.m. and can be streamed on the BU Sports Network.