Senior Goalkeeper Takes Field Hockey into State Semis

Senior goalkeeper Niyati Ramanathan had a shut out against Princeton in the quarter final states tournament.

courtesy of Dianne O'Donnell

Senior goalkeeper Niyati Ramanathan had a shut out against Princeton in the quarter final states tournament.

Evan Suraci and Heather Suraci

On Monday, Nov. 16, the girls field hockey team headed into the quarter-final of their state tournament against fierce opponent Princeton High School. Hillsborough had a 7-7 record and Princeton had a 9-2 record which meant that the competition for the win would be nothing short of difficult. Despite the odds of the Lady Raiders coming out on top of this competition being very low, the end result of the game was 1-0 with Hillsborough claiming victory over the Princeton Tigers.

The game was incredibly nail-biting as both teams took the ball down to the cage and had numerous shots. This game was particularly defensive as the defending line was responsible for making sure each shot on goal was intercepted and taken out of the circle. There were outstanding plays made by seniors Melissa Tucker and Jenn Koval as well as junior Emily Gale on defense. However, the real MVP of the game was senior goalkeeper Niyati Ramanathan.

With this being Ramanathan’s second year on the varsity squad, she already knew that games like this are full of immense pressure on the goalie. This game was particularly even more stressful as it is very rare for the Hillsborough Field hockey team to get this far along in state tournaments. With this in mind, Ramanathan put her whole heart on the field as she deflected and dove throughout the game to ensure no balls would cross the cage line.

In the fourth quarter, sophomore Michelle Fruge was able to tap the ball in Princeton’s cage and thus put the Raider’s ahead. However, this celebration soon turned to anxiety as in the remaining seconds  Princeton had a corner. Corners are played out even after the time has concluded, so potentially the game would result in a tie and then go into overtime. Just as the corner played out, another foul was committed, and again a corner occurred. Then, almost comically, another corner resulted.

During this third corner, a stroke was called. A stroke is almost always a guaranteed goal opportunity since it is one v. one with the goalkeeper. This call is immensely difficult to defend as a keeper. Despite the pressure of the situation, Ramanathan was able to promptly stop the ball and walk away with her first varsity shut out. Not only did Ramanathan have one of the best games of her career as a Raider, but she was able to advance her team to the semi-final round of states on Wednesday, November 18.

“I could not have done it without my team,” Ramanathan selflessly said. “They are the ones who fought hard for our win and I am so glad I could be a part of this experience.”