SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Playing in the final game of the season for the Converse College (5-11) field hockey team, Marina Montes-Nino went out in style, recording her second-career hat-trick, including the game-winning goal in overtime, to lift the Valkyries to a 3-2 win over Queens (N.C.) (6-11) on Thursday afternoon at Spartan High. The Valkyries finished their first season as a program winning five of their final six contests.
Playing a man down to start the game, the Valkyries did not let the apparent disadvantage stop them as they put pressure on the Royals defense throughout the first 35 minutes of action. After several near misses Montes-Nino continued her torrid pace with a goal in the 13th minute of action to give Converse the 1-0 lead. Sarah Healy sent a perfect ball through the crease and Montes-Nino did the rest.
That score doubled in the 33rd minute as Montes-Nino was at it again. This time she took a magnificent lead pass from Flore Samsi and absolutely blistered the Queens defense in a footrace to the goal and after putting a wicked move on the Royals keeper, calmly placed the ball into the back of the box for the 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
The second half was a defensive battle as each team's goalies would not allow anything to get by them. Queens picked up its offense midway through the period and looked poised to cut the lead in half, but Ciriaca Petitto and company would have none of it. Hanna Nechay of QU had a perfect opportunity to score in the 56th minute, but Petitto, in an all-out dive knocked the ball away harmlessly.
Just over five minutes later Maya Forbes put a shot on goal that Bec Amedee hustled back to keep out of the box. However, the persistence by the Royals finally paid off in the 62nd minute when Mazvita Mtisi finally was able get the Royals on the board with a score off her own rebound, and Queens knotted the game at 2-all in the 64th minute with an unassisted goal by Nechay, which would send the game into overtime.
Not wanting to give the game away after having a two-goal lead late in the contest, Converse came out in the extra session very aggressively on offense. That tenacity paid off just over four minutes into the overtime period when Montes-Nino hurdled a defender on her way to the ball and the game-winning goal, sending the home bench into absolute pandemonium as they rushed the field in sheer excitement.
Queens held a slim 16-14 advantage on shots as well as a 13-5 mark on penalty corners. Petitto earned the win after going the distance, allowing two goals while collecting nine saves. Miranda Childers was tagged with the loss for the Royals after playing every minute in the cage, giving up three goals and tallying seven saves.
This game concludes the inaugural season for the Converse Field Hockey team.