Team strives for third title

Team strives for third title

ELLA-Gant OFFENSE: Ella Ganocy ’22 surges through the defense on her way to the goal. The Wolverines defeated Huntington Beach High School 2-1, where Fienne Oerlemans ’22 scored both goals and the defense shut out the Boiler’s offense in the second half. Credit: Lucas Lee/Chronicle

The Marathon Continues

After winning back-to-back Los Angeles Field Hockey Association titles, the field hockey team looks to continue its three season-long, 45-game win streak.

The team has struggled to defend against goals at the start of each game, forward Penny Juarez ’21 said. Throughout the entirety of last season, the team conceded seven points, but has already allowed six this year. By increasing the intensity of their practices, team members hope to open games with a fast-paced tempo that wears out other teams early on, midfielder Bella Ganocy ’22 said.

“Our greatest improvement [has been that] that we [now come] out super strong and [stay] strong throughout the entire game,” Ganocy said. “Our team is going to work on attacking on the right side more instead of the left side, so that we are on our strong side, which is other teams’ weak sides.”

Team Chemistry

The team has not lost a game since its 2016 season. Captain and midfielder Rachel Brown ’20 attributes the team’s success to its close-knit bonds, which translate onto the field, she said.

“Personally, I accredit our success to the team spirit we share,” Brown said. “The whole field hockey team supports each other, and the trust built helps us to [excel] on the field.

The Wolverines’ chemistry provides them with the confidence to perform at their highest level, Ganocy said.

“My teammates are definitely a second family to me, and I would trust them with my life,” Ganocy said. “If I ever need someone to talk to or need help figuring something out, they are always my go-to. We are all so close, and I think that this really contributes to our overall success as a team.”
By rallying around the upperclassmen, the team hopes to grow even stronger this season, Brown said.

“The team’s goal is to continue to improve,” Brown said. “We already have such a strong foundation, built by now-graduated teammates, that our team can easily continue to get better. Our hard work is already improving our team.”

Senior Leadership

This year there are seven seniors on the team: Rachel Brown ’20, Emily Kornguth ’20, Alex Mieszala ’20, Scarlett Strasberg ’20, Caroline Sturgeon ’20, Chronicle Photography Editor Astor Wu ’20 and Sam Yeh ‘20.

“I am excited to see where our team goes and how we continue to play together,” Brown said. “I am sad for this to be my last year on the Harvard-Westlake field hockey but I couldn’t imagine a better team to end it with.”

Though the team will lose seven players next year, many starters plan to return. In addition, out of school clubs have allowed players to develop their skills, especially those necessary for defense forward Penny Juarez ‘21 said. Lately, the Wolverines have also adjusted their zone defense, which utilizes players in the stopper, left and right wing and back sweep positions, to outfit the ball on the outside to create possession plays, Juarez said.

Finishing the Season Strong

Juarez said the team expects to face its most difficult competitors, Huntington Beach High School, Edison High School and Newport Harbor High School, again in playoff matches.

“Edison was a surprise, but we knew [the game] would be hard,” Juarez said. “It was a flashback to [last year’s] championship game because it happened on the same field.”

After encountering these teams early in the season, the Wolverines have refocused their sights on securing a third consecutive title, Juarez said.

“We want to prepare for games leading up to the championship,” Juarez said.

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