Wednesday’s competition against Westminster was one of the more challenging games for the JV Field Hockey team this fall. As we continued to struggle with injuries and illness, we faced this formidable opponent at a disadvantage – we had no subs and several of our players on the field were not back at their full strength. That being said, this group of 11 players fought with grace and determination all the way to the final buzzer.
With a few of the girls in relatively new positions because of the lack of depth on the bench, the beginning of the game was a bit of an adjustment for all. Captain Emmaline Flagg ’18 was back with us as sweeper, so Lily Faucett ‘20 moved up to the left back position, and she did so with heart! She took direction from us to help her with her positioning, but her innate sense of how the defense worked helped her instinctively end up in the right place at the right time. In the first half, Westminster put a lot of pressure on the defense, but the girls held their own until there were about 9 minutes left and Westminster scored their first goal. Forwards Dom Whitney ’19 and Sydney Gregg ’20, supported by midfielder Hunter Keller ’19, executed great passing and attempted several times to bring the ball down to the opponent’s circle, but Westminster’s defense was strong and relentless in their attack of the ball, interrupting what is typically our skilled offensive drive. The same was happening on the right side of the field where midfielder captain Lynnette Jiang ’18 worked closely and smartly with her forwards Renée Ballou ’20 and Jada Howard ’19, but they struggled to put offensive pressure on Westminster. As the first half came to a close, after several strong saves by captain goalie Niyafa Boucher ’18, two quick goals snuck in just as time ran out. Coming off the field a bit deflated, discouraged, and frustrated, the girls regrouped at half-time, discussed what was working and how they could redirect their offensive strategies, and returned to the field with renewed energy. Suddenly we were able to play our game more effectively, dodging Westminster’s defenders and executing smaller yet productive passes. Westminster continued their attack throughout the second half, but DA was able to hold them to only 1 goal, even playing 2 players down briefly, due to injuries on the field. As the game came to a close, DA almost put the ball in the cage after a corner, but the clock worked against us. All in all, it was a difficult game but one that the girls can still look back on with pride – they never gave up!