Field hockey wins Tournament of Champions


Julian Andreone/Chronicle

HOMECOMING HOCKEY: As the opposing team gets ready to defend the corner, right back Maddie Redmond ’23 passes the ball during a match against Marina High School.

Leo Saperstein

Girls field hockey defeated Huntington Beach High School in the Tournament of Champions, winning its fourth consecutive CIF-equivalent championship Oct. 31. The team finished the fall season with a 14-2 overall record and a 5-2 record in league play.

The squad lost twice to Bonita High School during the regular season, by scores of 2-0 and 2-1 Sept. 23 and Oct. 12, respectively before defeating them with a 4-0 win in the Tournament of Champions semifinals.

Left forward and midfielder Sarina Smolev ’22 said the team learned from their first two matches against Bonita High School and implemented gameplan changes in preparation for their playoff tournament.

“The most challenging parts of the [season] were our two losses to [Bonita High School],” Smolev said. “Even though we weren’t able to keep our undefeated streak, we pushed past those losses and worked harder to beat them in the semifinals.”

Smolev said she attributes the team’s postseason success to Field Hockey Program Head Erin Creznic’s ability to motivate players on the field.

“[Program Head Erin Creznic] has played a huge part in the success of our team this year by pushing us to work our hardest during both practices and games and also to make the most of our first season [after COVID-19],” Smolev said.

Creznic said she emphasizes teamwork in practices, which allows the team to rely less on its captains in important games.

“While we have some outstanding talent on the team, field hockey is really a team sport and one can only succeed as a team,” Creznic said. “While we certainly depended on our captains and having them play strong games, we knew we wouldn’t be successful in harder matches if we didn’t trust and use everyone to overcome our stronger opponents.”

Creznic said next year’s team will need to focus on teamwork as the star talent of year’s senior class departs.

“We were blessed to have so many incredible seniors this year on the team as well as some outstanding underclassmen,” Creznic said. “It will be even more crucial to work as a team next year after the graduation of our seniors.”

Right midfielder and left forward Naalah Cohen ’23 said she views the team’s strong chemistry as a key component of the championship win.

“I think that our team has grown more cohesive as teammates and as players,” Cohen said. “Earlier in the season, I think that there was a disconnect between us while playing, and it was hard for players to trust [each other]. Yet as the season progressed, as a result of time and hard work, [we were] able to play truly as a team.”

Cohen said the team’s optimistic attitude and skilled senior players fueled the team’s success during both regular and post-season play.

“I think our team’s mentality and the seniors were the greatest factors that led to our team’s victory,” Cohen said. “Our team always made sure to uplift each other and stay positive. During our difficult games, this was really important in order to keep up morale.” 

The Wolverines offseason will be only a few months, as team practices will resume in the spring. Next year, the team will have a new goal to win their fifth consecutive championship.