Breakfast of Champions: Behind Field Hockey’s Record-Breaking Dominance

Breakfast of Champions: Behind Field Hockey’s Record-Breaking Dominance

On the Attack: Center forward Emily Kornguth '20 looks to score in the 1-0 win against Newport Harbor in the second round of playoffs. Photo credit: Luke Casola/Chronicle.

As the clock counted down in the LAFHA Championship game, the excitement of the varsity field hockey team could be felt throughout the crowd as the players stormed the field to celebrate the 2-1 win against Huntington Beach. The players walked off the field after winning a second consecutive championship knowing that they had just accomplished something unprecedented in the school’s field hockey history. Just last year, the squad finished with a record-breaking undefeated 20-0 season but this year the team broke even more records, raising the bar and expectations for the future teams.

This season, the squad built on its strong team chemistry, which was shown last year to finish undefeated for the second consecutive season and win the LAFHA league for the third year in a row.

Head coach Erin Creznic said that she knew last year’s team would have a chance to win the championship.

“I was pretty certain this was the year we do it and win everything but not even could have predicted the [20-0 record] and winning every single game, so that was pretty incredible,” Creznic said. “Our whole team was so deep. So many good players starting with a strong senior class all the way down to the new freshmen.”

After winning the LAFHA Championship last season, former team captain Alyse Tran ’18 said that she believed the program would have bright future.

“I think every single one of [our rising seniors] are really strong and passionate about field hockey,” Tran said. “[Rachel Brown ’20] of course, who won MVP of the league, she will definitely keep the team going strong.”

On the other hand, after the last season, left midfielder and current team captain Isabella Huang ’19 said that she didn’t really know how the team would do this season.

“I’m not sure how next year will turn out yet, but my hopes are high,” Isabella Huang said. “Last year, we had half the amount of seniors on the team compared to how many we had this year and it kind of changes the dynamic of the team in general.”

Despite the opinions and thoughts that the current team would not live up to the expectations after last season’s dominant undefeated season, the current players said that they feel this season belonged among some of the greatest in the school’s history.

“We are extremely excited about our undefeated season and are honored to continue the legacy left behind by last year’s amazing season,” Brown said. “We are so excited for the ring, our fingers were beginning to feel a little light.”

In August , the team opened the season with shutout wins against Marina High School on Aug. 28 and Westminster High School on Aug. 31. Center forward Emily Kornguth ’20 said that she believes winning the first games of the season motivated the team to work towards a second consecutive undefeated season.

“The beginning of the season was a great depiction of how we would do in the rest of our games,” Kornguth said. “We were not too caught up with how we did last season or the expectations that were now on us going into the season because of our success last year and showed that we wanted to win another championship.”

After reflecting on the season, defender Iris Huang ’21 said that she believes the strong start was a key factor in the team’s overall success this year.

“It was really important to us [to start strong] because it boosts our confidence going into the rest of the season and it also just inspired us to work and practice harder so that we could do better in the future,” Iris Huang said.

Over the past two seasons, the Wolverines are 39-0 overall with a league record of 16-0, winning two LAFHA Championships and league titles. Team captain Sydney Pizer ’18 said that she believes the seniors were important in building the team chemistry.

“We really try to lead by example and facilitate an environment of support for our team,” Pizer said. “I think that this close dynamic is very critical to our success because we are a team first and players second.”

In the LAFHA Championship against Huntington Beach on Nov. 3, the Wolverines trailed 1-0 until the second the half. Freshman Ella Ganocy ’22 scored the game-tying goaland nearly three minutes after,  made the game-winning goal for the Wolverines.

“Since we were down for the first time in the entire season, this provided a huge challenge but our team was able to rise above and ultimately pull out a win,” Brown said. “This shows our determination and ability to lean on each other in times of trouble.”

To end the regular season at home, the five seniors, the school congratulated Pizer, Toomey, Isabella Huang, Bella Guanche ’18 and Emily Wesel ’18 for their last home game as Wolverine on Senior Night Oct. 25.

“My favorite moment of the season was [the game against Westlake on Oct. 25] when all the underclassmen worked so hard to make Senior Day really magical,” Pizer said. “They surprised us with princess dresses to wear all day at school and presented us with wonderful posters, candy, and flowers. I know I speak on behalf of all the seniors when I say that we were so grateful to be on this team because the people are just the best.”

Many players said that the seniors played a key role and contributed greatly to the team’s overall success this season.

“The seniors on this team were incredibly helpful for our successful season because after 12 [of last year’s] seniors left, many thought it would be our  transition year and didn’t expect much of us,” Brown said. “The seniors on the team didn’t ever let us play lazy or give up. Instead the seniors consistently motivated us and made our team better.”

Along with standout senior leadership, Brown also played a key role in the team’s success and was awarded her second LAFHA league MVP in two seasons.

“[Brown] is still the best field hockey player I have ever coached,” Creznic said. “She leads our team as center mid, and she is always a part of every crucial play. [Chronicle Photography Editor Astor Wu ’20] and [forward Samantha Yeh ’20]were two other juniors who had fantastic seasons for us, and there is nothing quite like [team captain Cypress Toomey’s ’18] drive and spirit. We also had three fantastic freshmen players [Ella Ganocy ], [Bella Ganocy ’22], and [Fiene Oerlemans ’22], who led the team when it came to scoring and assists.”

Not only have the players contributed to the team’s success, Creznic was able to coach this team to become back-to-back undefeated champions.

“Coach Creznic has done an amazing job always keeping us focused and preparing us for the season as a whole, as well as always just being an all around coach whether it be games or practices,” Yeh said.

After winning league Oct. 25, defender Scarlett Strasberg ’20 said that she believed the players were happy to carry on the legacy and winning tradition that the program has built over these past two seasons.

Looking ahead, Creznic also said that she believes the team next year will very likely be better than this season.

“It’s been a lot of fun to coach these girls these past two seasons,” Creznic said. “Not only are they strong, determined, and strategic athletes, but they are compassionate, goofy, and kind teenagers.”1269 words

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