Without having that voice in the backfield on defense, the Lady Knight field hockey team has had a harder time digging themselves out of the holes they keep falling into.
Opponents score the initial goals and go on to build substantial leads that the Knights can’t come back from.
A major contributing factor to Southington’s recent tribulation is the absence of the team’s co-captain and defenseman, Molly Dobratz. Ever since Dobratz went down with an injury in the second game of the season during a 4-3 loss to Simsbury at home, the team has gone 2-5 without Dobratz, and all five of those losses have come in the form of shutouts.
“No disrespect to any of the other players because they all do a great job and push their hardest, but Molly was the most consistent back there,” said Southington coach Erin Luddy. “She knows where the ball needs to go, whether it’s transferring back to offense or regrouping the defense. She can see the field, and you can’t teach that.”
After missing most of the first half of the season, Dobratz returned to practice towards the end of this past week and is expected to play in the team’s home game against Windsor on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
“I saw her at practice on Friday, and it was kind of nice,” the coach said. “Giving the offense confidence and opportunities down there, limiting how many shots the other team has on goal, is a factor.”
In their lone game of the week, the Knights suffered their sixth loss and fifth shutout of the season after being blanked, 4-0, at Conard on Tuesday, Oct. 10. All of Conard’s goals came in the second half prior to 11 minutes remaining in the contest.
“One goal gets in, and it feels a little defeating,” said Luddy. “The second one goes in, and it just eats at us. Then, we gain our composure, and then there’s no more scoring.”
The Knights were held to just four shots on goal and three penalty corners. Maddie Belfonti saved 19 shots in the cage.
Sydney Rice and Julia Jackman are currently out with injuries. Rice is expected to return in about a week.
The Knights will be back on the turf this week for their busiest week of the regular season with contests against Windsor (1-10), nonconference Wamogo (0-8-1), and Farmington (3-6-1). Southington is currently 3-6.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/10/17/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-oct-20-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.