The girls field hockey team enjoyed their second victory in a row and their first on the MVHS field. On Oct. 5 the Matadors defeated St. Ignatius High School in possession and number of shots on goal. The game ended 2-0.
The team got off to a rough start but quickly improved their situation, focusing heavily on offensive pressure. Both the midfielders’ spacing and team communication contributed to the Matadors’ stellar defense. This gave the forwards many opportunities to get shots on goal, especially with the midfielders closer behind them for support. Following a cleared ball by junior Alexis Page, senior Holly Matsunami and junior Sarah Im each had shots on the goal, though both were blocked. Strong support by the midfielders throughout the game, however, allowed the play to continue. Senior Caroline Lei brought the ball back toward the goal from midfield, firing a shot that zipped toward the left corner of the goal and was just wide, off the post.
“We worked well together in talking; our skills have improved too,” junior Amanda Fong said. “We were on a roll.”
As the first half wound down, the game was still scoreless, despite MVHS’ offensive efforts. A few scares to the defense came from an SHS fast break that caught the midfielders off guard. SHS tested MVHS goalie senior Megan Jones with several shots. Soon after, Page came up big for the Matadors, blocking a shot high off the ground with her stick and sending the game into halftime still scoreless.
The Matadors came into the second half as if they had never left. Senior Cindy Jung broke up a SHS pass early, and quickly sent it down the sideline, which led to a short corner. Byrne took the shot in the short corner, but the scoring opportunity was ended when the SHS goalie caught the ball under her foot.
The Matadors’ passing proved crucial in keeping the offensive momentum flowing as they continued to attack the SHS goal. Individual ball control was also much improved from previous games. After a clear from the defense, Lei drove the ball down the middle of the field at full tilt, dodging three SHS players’ sticks. Jung also split two defenders on the left side of the field, sending a pass through to sophomore Katie Sommers.
The SHS offense responded to the Matadors’ force midway through the second half, charging out toward the MVHS goal. However, Jones was prepared for change in pace, and made two critical saves in a crowded frenzy of players to keep MVHS’ chances alive. Soon after, head coach Denise Eachus called a timeout to rethink strategy with the Matadors.
Coming out from the huddle, the Matadors’ forwards showed increased effort. Im blocked an SHS clearing attempt close to their goal, drawing a short corner. Byrne received the inbound on the play and zipped in a pass to Im, who whacked the ball into the cage for the Matadors’ first goal of the game. Barely two minutes later, Im scored yet another goal, lifting MVHS to a 2-0 lead. The referees reviewed the scoring play, but after some deliberation, the goal was confirmed.
Sophomore Melissa Foster and the defense fought until the end, often batting at the ball in a crowd in front of the goal. SHS drew two short corners in the closing minutes of the game, but were unable to convert. As the clocked wound down, the Matadors could sense the victory and held onto the ball until the end of the game. The final result was a 2-0 victory for MVHS.
“I think that we’re talking more and we work better,” Lei said. “Before we had issues with our defense and with who is covering and who is going to go to get the ball, but now we have that figured out.”
The Matadors’ next home game will be against Live Oak High School on Oct. 17.