Field hockey feels the pressure for CCS

November 13, 2009 — by Synthia Ling and Ren Norris

After placing second at the CCS finals last year, the Lady Falcons may not be able to live up to last year’s success this season. A rough start and several disappointing losses are pushing CCS hopes beyond reach. To qualify for the playoffs, they need to win almost all of the remaining games.

Beginning that difficult task, the team managed to improve its CCS prospects with a 1-0 overtime win at Los Altos on Oct. 22. Both teams had five short corner plays each, but the Falcons pulled through in the end.

Saratoga managed to keep the ball in Eagle territory for the majority of the game, creating numerous chances to score, but the Los Altos defense was able to shutout the Falcons and force the game into overtime.

In overtime, Saratoga scored on a clutch short corner play with only minutes to spare on the clock. Junior Vanessa Block hit the ball out to senior forward and co-captain Sam Li who stopped it. Junior Ren Norris faked as Li passed the ball between her legs to senior defender and co-captain Anna Schroeder, who hit it. The Los Altos goalie blocked the shot, but Block swiftly got hold of the ball and rebounded it to senior midfielder Jordan Leonard, who tapped it in for a goal to win the game.

“We know now that we can score no matter how much time is left,” said Leonard. “We’ve worked so hard, we know we deserve to go to CCS, but we just have to finish out the season strong. Anything can happen in these games. We just have to play each game with confidence and intensity.”

This was an important win since Los Altos and Saratoga were tied in the standings. The victory brought Saratoga’s record ahead to 3-4-2. This win was not only a step closer for the team to CCS but also was a huge confidence booster.

“We were having a hard time in the beginning of the game, but when it counted most, we worked hard and got the job done and came out with a win,” said Li. “I always knew making CCS would be possible, it just comes down to how badly we want to get there and win championships in the end.”

This win was a good morale booster for the team after losing to its biggest rival Los Gatos two days earlier.

On Oct. 20 on Saratoga territory, the team faced off against the Wildcats itching for redemption against the team who edged them out of a CCS championship trophy last year.

In the first half, the Cats’ Taylor Comeau scored from an outside shot. Los Gatos almost scored again until senior goalie and co-captain Madeline Rothenberg and junior defender Colleen Garland had a great save to break up a Wildcat breakaway.

During the second half, Los Gatos scored off of a short corner and led 2-0, but Saratoga upped the intensity of the game. After a short corner, the ball rebounded from the Los Gatos goalie and Leonard hit it into the goal. Despite further efforts from Saratoga to tie the score, Los Gatos managed to hold their lead, ending the game 2-1.

In the end, the girls were disappointed with the loss, but were also thrilled about how well the team played together during the second half of the game.

“I’m really proud of the second half, there was no contest in that half,” said coach Kellie York. “We dominated and made them very anxious and the game was really fun to watch. We had six corners in a row which was awesome, but we need to finish more to win in the season.”

Despite the challenge to make CCS, they believe a CCS playoff spot is within their reach—players say they just need to stay focused and motivated for the rest of the season. The games against St. Ignatius on Nov. 3 and two games against Presentation on Nov. 4 and 5 were the deciding games in whether the team will make it to the playoffs.

“If we use our good skills, play smart and play to our strengths, we’re unstoppable and can make it to CCS,” said assistant coach Amber Wilson.

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