Field Hockey: Season turned around despite tough league start

November 12, 2009 — by Synthia Ling and Ren Norris

Fifth place. That might not sound like rank worthy of boasting, but for the field hockey team, fifth place in the Mount Hamilton league was all they needed to snag a spot in the CCS playoffs.

Throughout the season, the girls struggled to come out on top as several losses to daunting opponents such as Los Gatos, Saint Francis and Archbishop Mitty broke the team momentum. However, when the chances of even making the CCS playoffs were becoming slim, the team stepped it up and managed to get one of the final spots. The team was scheduled to play North Salinas Nov. 12 at home.

“I think that it was hard to find our footing in the first half of the season,” said head coach Kellie York, “but the way we played the last half was strong, especially the last few games where we preformed under pressure and knew we had to win.”

The team morale grew stronger after a big game against rival Los Gatos on Oct. 20. Many players felt that eating lunch together that day and getting psyched for the game helped to get them in the game mode mentally.

“Even though we lost to Los Gatos, it was still a turning point of the season because we realized we could dominate by playing our game,” said senior co-captain Madeline Rothenberg.

After that game, clutch wins against Los Altos and Leland put the team in a better position for making CCS.

A key 3-1 win on Nov. 3 against Saint Ignatius further improved chances of making CCS, with goals by sophomore forward Anna Ashe, senior midfielder Jordan Leonard and senior co-captain Anna Schroeder.

The only opponent the team had left to face in league season was powerhouse Presentation, who had gone most of the season undefeated. With two games back to back on Nov. 4 and 5, the girls had two chances to come out with a win against Presentation, which would guarantee a fifth place league finish and send the team to CCS playoffs.

On Nov. 4, the Falcons came back from a 0-1 halftime score to win the game 2-1 with goals by Leonard and junior forward Whitney Hansen.On Nov. 5, the girls suffered a tough 3-1 loss against Presentation on their Senior Day game. Despite solid defense and several chances on offense, Presentation was able to score three goals, only challenged by a goal by Leonard off of an assist by Schroeder in the second half.

“We needed to play with more confidence in ourselves and our teammates,” said assistant coach Amber Wilson, “If we can play our game and not get down on ourselves,then we can beat anybody.”

The team’s final league record was 6-6-2, which was just enough to edge out Los Altos for the final spot in CCS playoffs.

“I give the team a lot of credit for staying with it and pushing through to make sure we won the games we needed to extend our season past regular league,” said York.

Despite an up-and-down league season, the team felt the improvements in playing and attitude will allow them to get far in the playoffs.

“This season has been really great,” said senior midfielder Shawna Shirazi. “When the girls are supportive and we believe in ourselves we can really get anything done.”