On a cool, cloudy fall September day, JV Field Hockey took on the Exeter girls with fierce determination. Having worked diligently over the past two weeks on positioning, trust, support and camaraderie both on and off the field, DA was poised to face a challenging opponent such as the “Big Red.” We started the game with a planned and well-executed flat-and-through passing sequence and never looked back. Smart, calculated passing and dodging fueled the momentum in both halves of the game. On the right side, Sydney Gregg ’20 sent beautiful through passes down the line to her wing Jada Howard ’19, and her inner, Dom Whitney ’19, both of whom subsequently brought the ball to the circle. On the left, whether a free hit was coming from left back captain Anna “Scottie” Scott ’18, or center back captain Lynnette Jiang ’18, our mids and forwards were cutting to the ball, working their way out to the sideline. Numerous times Sydney could be seen stealing the ball right off the opponent’s stick! A little more than half way into the first half, a through pass from Hunter Keller ’20 up to wing Lucy Blake ’19 turned into a picture-perfect moment as Lucy dribbled down the sideline and executed an awesome sweep, sending the ball crashing through the circle, subsequently leading us to the one and only goal of the game scored by Hunter, with an assist by Sydney.
Other highlights coming from our drives to the goal included great communication and trust between our inners. Both inners, Renee Ballou ’20 on the left, and Dom on the right, were quick to the ball as it made its way to the middle of the field, determined to be one step ahead of their opponent, and first to the ball. Their quickness led to flat-and-through passing as well as excellent movement as they dodged and dribbled their way to the edge of the circle. Midfielder Emma Jaskolski ’20 did a fabulous job with positioning, helping out her forwards, and hustling back to recover on D. All drives down the field to the opponents’ circle were well-supported by our defense who stayed in close proximity to their midfielders, ensuring that the momentum did not switch too quickly. When Exeter did make their move down to our end of the field, the defense remained focused and relatively calm. Our two sweepers, Lily Faucett ’20 and captain Emmaline Flagg ’18, were forces to be reckoned with. They stepped up to pressure the ball and adeptly slowed down the Exeter drive to goal, and either executed a clear out of our end of the field or, at minimum, allowed their backs to recover and position themselves in strategic defensive spots.
During the second half in particular, it was clear that Exeter was determined to tie up the score and move ahead. They altered their strategy a bit which did cause some panic. During a time-out the girls took a slow, long breath, and re-focused on what we knew would work. Immediately we were able to not only execute well-constructed hits out of our scoring area, but the backs worked tirelessly to ensure they were in position to stop another full-on attack by Exeter. Ellie Shilling ’18, stayed within 10 yards of her midfielder, Hunter, who created a triangle with her forwards Jada and Dom, and they were able to keep the ball down inside Exeter’s 25-yard line. Final mention here, and crucial last line of defense, captain and goalie Niyafa Boucher ’18 held her own in the goal and made some clutch saves for us, per her awesome usual. Earning an offensive corner with only a few seconds left, we ended the game on a strong note. A team win for sure. Go Big Green!