As its first league games kick off, the field hockey team has not hesitated to flex its muscle right off the bat, defeating its first five scheduled opponents, including Huntington Beach, to whom they lost in last year’s State Championship.
Huntington Beach was responsible for two of the Wolverines’ three losses last year, leaving the field hockey team scoreless in both matches.
The team responded resoundingly on Sept. 10, defeating Huntington Beach by a score of 3-1. During the off-season, the Wolverines made the proper technical and mental adjustments to finally getting over this hump, goaltender Daniela Grande ’15 said.
“It was really satisfying especially for the returning varsity members after the close loss last year. Huntington Beach stood as the greatest hurdle for our team to overcome and we collectively understood the game’s significance even before we played,” Grande ’15 said. “We were able to translate our desire to win into playing less individually that day and therefore more successfully.
The team’s strong start is very reminiscent of last year’s, when the team won four of its first five games. This season has seen a slight increase in offensive productivity, with 22 goals in the first five game compared to last year’s 17.
The combination of Grande and the team’s stout defensive line has only allowed two goals to hit the net and has shut out the team’s last three adversaries. Grande has nearly kept the Wolverine goal off limits and meanwhile has been scanning the productivity of an offense that averages a win margin by over four goals.
“I think the team can improve on getting shots off near the goal and playing even more decisively on offense,” Grande said. “Even in games where we’ve won by a lot, the amount of shots taken isn’t that high and obviously that means we could be potentially winning by much more.”
Along with the improved offensive execution and defensive stability, the field hockey players have formed camaraderie that has lead to a cohesive unit, brought together by the team’s preseason tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.
“This year we have connected and really developed great friendships off the field and I think that’s contributed most to how well we’ve been able to do as a team thus far,” stopper Hana Chop ’14 said. “We’ve never been closer as a team or as friends for that matter and that bond is going to help us a lot as our league games kick off.”
The Wolverines have started off in near perfect fashion, with high level production from both the offense and defense, but a whole league and playoff schedule rest in sight.
“I think we can always improve as a unit, meaning we need to keep up the cuts, hard passes, aggressiveness in the [shooting] circle, and counterattack,” Chop said.
“With the tone we’ve already set this season with our current record, I think our goals remain to stay intense and focused on getting ourselves to the championships the best and most efficient way possible – getting those early goals and maintaining possession,” Chop added.
“We are taking it game by game, but our end goal is the championship.”