Holmdel, N.J. - The Holmdel High School field hockey team played a hard-fought game under the bright lights of Bob Roggy Memorial Field on Thursday evening against Shore Conference A-Central Division rival Raritan, but were unable to come out on top.

Two goals by Raritan in the final 12 minutes led to the Rockets coming back and defeating Holmdel 2-1, dropping the Hornets to 4-6 on the season.

“Honestly, we came out and fought a battle,” said Holmdel field hockey coach Melissa Murphy. “We had a solid passing game. We had a solid defensive game. We had a solid attacking game. What we didn’t do was finish [scoring] opportunities. We didn’t mark well in a couple occasions in the circle. You can’t let up for two seconds because in field hockey that can be the difference between a win and a loss.”

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After a scoreless first half of play, Holmdel broke through for the game’s first goal with just over five minutes gone by to begin the second half.

Off a nice pass from teammate Lane Fontana, senior Natalie Grana knocked home her team-high eighth goal of the season to put Holmdel up 1-0.

Grana has scored a goal in each of the last two games for the Hornets.

“She sees the field and makes cuts that others can’t,” Murphy said of Grana. 

The Hornets had a lead in hand, however, Raritan didn’t lose focus and fought back to even things up with 11:52 left to play.

Senior Ashley Ogonowski knocked in her fifth goal of the season to tie things up at 1-1.

Raritan took the lead with 7:16 left to play, taking advantage of a free possession deep in the Holmdel zone and scoring a 2-1 advantage on an Emma Springstead goal.

Just like that, Holmdel was now trailing and needed another comeback victory like in its 2-1 overtime win over Monmouth Regional in its last game.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, the magic for a comeback wasn’t in the cards for this game.

Holmdel missed out on two opportunities to even it up with under three minutes to play.

Raritan goalkeeper Jersey Ingstrup made a great stop on Catherine Haggerty’s shot right in front of the cage to halt the first Holmdel scoring chance.

Holmdel couldn’t connect on a scoring play set up off a corner, seeing Emma Quirk’s pass to Madison Yan for a tip-in goal sail over the cage.

The Hornets got one last shot to tie things up and force overtime with a corner to end regulation, but Quirk was unable to secure Grana’s pass off the corner and the ball rolled towards midfield to signal the end of the game. 

Holmdel will look to get back on the winning track with a big slate of four games scheduled to play next week, starting with a road game on Tuesday against Manasquan. 

With the Shore Conference Tournament cut-off just a little over two weeks away, Murphy is happy with how her team has been playing to start the season and believes they can make a run at making it into the tournament.

“We can’t give up,” Murphy said. “We play Manasquan next on Tuesday, so we need to come out with the same intensity and the same fight we had in this game.”

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports