On a fabulous fall day in Deerfield, the JV Field Hockey team marched from the Horse’s Head to their field as they prepared for their first home game of the season. They arrived with focus and determination, looking forward to facing one of their most formidable opponents, Exeter Academy. Throughout the first half, play was quite even as both teams led attacks, defended their circles, and fought to maintain possession of the ball. DA’s defense worked together seamlessly as sweeper Lily Faucett ’20 stepped up to stop or slow down attacks with her side backs, Lizzie Eudy ’22 and Cam Howe ’22 recovering with speed and strength. Our free hits from the backfield found their way to our left and right midfielders, Renee Ballou ’20 and Katie Lawrence ’22 respectively, who sent well-executed through passes to their wings Jo Louis ’23 and Ally Kell ’20. Although there were many strong attacks on goal from our forwards and midfielders as they formed there close to impenetrable ‘W’ formation to stop Exeter’s free hits out of the circle, Exeter solidly defended their end of the field, thwarting our attempts to score. At the half, we were faced with a 0-0 tie.
After a quick break at half-time and a few strategic adjustments, DA took to the field with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Five minutes into the half, DA put significant pressure on the defense and goalie, and Ally Kell ’20 snuck the ball into the goal from the post position, putting DA ahead 1-0. Exeter fought back, pushed to penetrate our circle and had several more shots on goal, stopped over and over again by solid play from goalie Gabriella Hu ’21. With continued strong free hits from Lily and our captain and center back Emma Jaskolski ’20, Katie, Renee and center midfielder Ellie Shilling ’21 were able to make plays by moving on to the passes and sending them to their forwards. With about 7 minutes left in the game, Ellie received a pass to the top of the circle and sent it towards the goal with a strong flick. Jo was waiting in perfect position at the left post and executed a textbook tip of the ball in midair, scoring the second and final goal of the game. The team demonstrated grit, determination, and they worked together in such a way that reflected trust, camaraderie, and respect for each other’s strengths. We could not have asked for a better home opener!