FIELD HOCKEY: Matadors fall to Lynbrook 0-1


Junior Katrina Chan weaves the ball down the sideline past a Lynbrook player. The Matadors were unable to execute, despite many scoring opportunities. Photo by Mihir Joshi

Steven Lim

Junior Katrina Chan weaves the ball down the sideline past a Lynbrook player. The Matadors were unable to execute, despite many scoring opportunities. Photo by Mihir Joshi

Senior Katie Byrne looked up after weaving past a Lynbrook High School defender and sent a quick pass through the defense to junior Sarah Im. Im cradled the ball against the face side of her stick, quickly wound up her swing and made a shot at the cage. The play was brilliantly set up and would put the Matadors on the board to tie the game, but the ball was snatched out of the air by the LHS goalie. It was one of many scoring opportunities that fell short during the first half of the day’s intense game.

On Sept. 19, the MVHS girls field hockey team lost 0-1 in a hotly contested game against LHS. Senior Holly Matsunami came up strong defensively, blocking many scoring opportunities on the right side of the goal.

After struggling in the first few minutes, MVHS, with efforts by Matsunami and junior Amanda Fong, attempted to stop LHS’ offense by tackling and shoving. Yet they were unable to stop a goal by LHS.

Head coach Denise Eachus called a timeout to get the team back on track, stressing better communication. In response to this, MVHS played more aggressively, breaking up LHS passes and bringing the ball past midfield. The team put up a stronger defensive effort, not giving up a goal for the rest of the half. MVHS maintained good ball possession in LHS’ territory, but had problems executing their shots on goal. Even though they played with renewed intensity, no goals were produced by MVHS, leaving the score at 0-1 at the end of the first half.

After halftime, the team took a new direction by putting a stronger emphasis on offense. In the early minutes of the second half, Im set up a brilliant team play, sending a strong pass through to junior Amelia Strom, who dished the ball off to sophomore Arushi Agarawala. MVHS drew a foul on the play, giving the team a short corner, though the ball was hit wide to the right.

LHS regained possession after the missed MVHS set shot, but couldn’t clear the ball. The MVHS offense improved drastically and communication was markedly better. This resulted in superior ball possession for much of the second half. The Matadors attacked the goal with increased vigor, drawing several short corners in a row. MVHS forwards swarmed the goal, constantly testing the LHS goalie and keeping themselves in the game. However, MVHS was just unable to put a goal away.

Byrne was a strong performer offensively, taking many shots on the goal. Better communicating also allowed the forwards to create opportunities for the offense and the midfielders created a virtual wall that kept LHS from attacking the defense.

Despite a long stretch of offensive intensity, MVHS had no points on the board to show for it. Many times, MVHS came extremely close to scoring and had numerous opportunities, yet were unable to score. The offense began to tire, shifting possession towards midfield. LHS took advantage of this change as the tide turned, and attacked the MVHS defense, which had not been under pressure for several minutes. Put back on the defensive, the Matadors set up their defense and ended with a loss by a final score of 0-1.

“We didn’t play to our full skill level … and finishing is what we really need to work on. [LHS] finished their [opportunities]. We had way more opportunities than they did and we just didn’t get it to the goal,” Byrne said.

“With all of that skill that is on our team, one of our main focuses is getting them to work together as a team, as a whole unit of the field instead of as skilled individuals,” Eachus said.

The Matadors‘ next home game will be against Cupertino High School on Friday, Sept. 28