FIELD HOCKEY: Senior Night game goes down to the wire


Steven Lim

Senior Holly Matsunami battles a Prospect High School player for the ball in front of the MVHS goal. The Matadors escaped with the win off of a short corner in the last 30 seconds of the game. Photo by Margaret Lin.
The cheers grew louder as the ball entered the tangle of sticks and legs, bouncing around like a pinball. MVHS threw their entire team at the goal, knowing the urgency of the situation, as the clock wound down. The screams from the spectators grew louder as they cheered on their respective teams. In the thick of it, junior Sarah Im came out with the ball, and sent her shot deep into the back of the goal. The crowd erupted into a frenzy of cheers while the victorious Matadors raced across the field, celebrating their Senior Night game victory.

On Nov.1, MVHS and Prospect High School went head to head for the Matadors’ senior night game. The beginning of the game was not unlike previous MVHS victories as PHS dominated every aspect of the game, holding the ball for almost the entire half, and controlled the game offensively.

Despite the sluggish performance, MVHS’ defense shone occassionally in the first half. Senior Katie Byrne stole the ball and dribbled it out to midfield, but had no one to pass it to, resulting in the Dons regaining possession. The Matadors had opportunities to attack, but players often weren’t open or held onto the ball too long. Offensive opportunities were cut short and the Matadors couldn’t get any points on the board.

As the half wore on, PHS continued to apply consistent pressure on the MVHS defense and wore them out. Byrne gave the team a reprieve when she intercepted a pass, dribbled upfield and allowed the rest of the team to move up with her and turn the tables. The MVHS offense pressured the PHS defense in earnest for the first time, though the play did not result in a point. Despite this, the Matadors had rediscovered their “intensity,” an important part of coach Eachus’ philosophy. The teams walked off the field at halftime with the game still scoreless.

Although the Matadors showed promise with their play before the end of the first half, the second half started out in favor of PHS. After intercepting an MVHS pass at midfield, the Dons went on a fast break with a numerical advantage, and caught the Matadors off guard. Charging towards the goal, a PHS player took a shot and silenced the home crowd. The score was 1-0 with the Dons leading.

The majority of the second half resembled much of the first half. PHS had a huge amount of the time of possession and played more cohesively than MVHS. The Matadors were on defense for the majority of the second half, and could not really threaten the PHS defense. MVHS tended to pass and dribble upfield instead of using more flat passes, ones that travel laterally across the width of the field, something that Eachus encouraged constantly throughout the game.

“It’s very easy for them to predict where the ball is going to be because we’re not changing direction at all,” Eachus said to the players on the field. “Don’t be predictable!”

As the game wore on, the Matadors’ chances at equalizing were fleeting. Coming out of a timeout with around 15 minutes left, MVHS’ offense looked like a different team. Improved spacing allowed the them to string some passes together, and Im came away with their first goal of the night, equalizing the game at 1-1.

Both teams exhibited equal efforts in the closing minutes of the game. The crowd grew restless as the clock wound down to the final minute. MVHS responded with a play that would seal the game. Sophomore Janaye Sak

kas dribbled the ball down the left side of the field, allowing the forwards to press the goal. In the commotion, MVHS drew a short corner, with time running out. The play continued as Im launched a shot into the back of the goal, lifting the Matadors to victory.