The Dexter field hockey team picked up right where it left off last season – in the win column. The defending state champions played their first game as a Division 1 team Tuesday night and knocked off visiting Ottawa Hills (Ohio) 2-1 in a non-league game to open the 2015 season.
Dexter was able to come out fast in the first half with a corner goal by senior Lexi Heath who collected a rebound and scooped it back into the net. Dexter had several chances to increase its lead during the first half but could not get it past the Green Bears’ goalie.
In the second half, Ottawa Hills capitalized on a Dexter turnover well into the Dreadnaught zone as Paulina Mendez stole a pass and took the ball straight to the Dexter goal to tie the game at 1-1.
About 10 minutes later, the Dreadnaughts had another corner opportunity. During the play, Heath sent a pass to junior Emma Schneider who took the shot which was tipped past the goalie by junior Diana Milne for a 2-1 lead.
For the remaining 13 minutes, Dexter was able to hold off Ottawa Hills and preserve the opening-night win.
Dexter doubled up Ottawa Hills in shots (12-6) and corners (10-5).
Anna Love earned the win in the net for the Dreads.
“This was a good test for us to start the season,” said Dexter coach Craig Flocken. “Ottawa Hills is a traditionally strong program and they gave us a battle out there. They have quickness which caused us problems throughout the game and their goalie made several outstanding saves.”
While the Dreads are not at midseason form just yet, Flocken did see plenty of positives from his experienced and talented club.
“Though the play was not exactly as clean as I would have liked to have seen it on Dexter’s part, the team did what it needed to pull out and hold onto the victory,” he said. “As we didn’t have a lot of close games last season, being able to survive a tight game hopefully will give the players confidence that they can win the close ones.
“Our strong defense seems to have picked up where it left off last season. An unfortunate turnover deep in our territory allowed Ottawa Hills a score, but outside of that, the defense kept their chances to a minimum.”
Flocken said corner play was a key to the opening night victory.
“We have not historically been successful on finishing those with goals,” he said, “so to see two scores as a result of corner plays was a big bonus for us.”
Dexter hosts Ann Arbor Greenhills on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.