Keesler-Evans records 23 saves in Lady Bucs’ 4-1 loss

MILFORD – In her first varsity field hockey action as the full-time starting goalkeeper, Milford High sophomore Isabella Keesler-Evans was peppered with 27 shots from Polytech High’s offensive attack.

The Lady Bucs would drop a 4-1 loss to the Lady Panthers, but Keesler-Evans’ valiant effort in goal resulted in an impressive 23-save debut.

“She saved a 9-1 game to it only being a 4-1 game,” said Milford head coach Andrea McPike of Evans-Keesler’s performance.

Evans-Keesler saved 23 of Polytech’s 27 shots (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“There was one time where she had three players of the opposing team, and it was just her, and she came up big and saved a situation where she was kind of let down by no one recovering fast enough to get back to help her.”

Polytech would jump ahead 2-0 within the first 12 minutes of the first half, with goals scored by junior Nadja Weaver-Postell at the 26:09 mark and senior Lacy Bayley at the 18:21 mark.

The Lady Bucs, who were out-shot 27-1 on the day, would put its lone goal on the board with just 1:42 remaining in the opening half.

Junior attack Olivia Cromer snuck one past Polytech’s goalkeeper, netting the goal off an assist from senior Jessie Donovan on a penalty corner.

Bayley’s second of two goals on the day, and a goal from Jennah Morris, in the final eight minutes of the game cemented the season-opening win for the Lady Panthers.

Keesler-Evans’ play of the day, on Poly’s three-on-one break-away late in the second half, saved at least one more goal from being scored.

“That’s hard, as a keeper, you see three girls and you’re like ‘okay, do I stay back, do I go out?’ She kind of stood in the middle and she ended up on the right side because the girl didn’t cross it, she took a shot and Bella was right there,” McPike said of the save.

Junior Olivia Cromer scored the lone Milford goal, with an assist from Jessie Donovan (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

After putting up just one shot on goal and earning just four penalty corners all game, McPike hopes her young squad can work on conditioning and being more aggressive with the ball heading into Thursday night’s road match-up with Dover.

“We want to work on the extra effort, our conditioning, our recovery and getting back faster instead of jogging back,” she said.

“We want to work on our communication and then we want to work on our aggressiveness to the ball – going to those 50/50 balls, cutting back for the ball, sprinting up for passes. Just our overall aggression to the ball.”

The Lady Bucs have a quick turn-around, as they head up to Dover High (0-2) Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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