Strong defense highlights first field hockey game

Co-captain+senior+Amelia+Strom+attempts+to+steal+the+ball+during+the+Lady+Mats%E2%80%99+game+against+Saint+Francis+High+School+on+Sept.+5.+Strom+later+suffered+a+leg+injury%2C+but+walked+off+the+field+without+assistance.+Photo+by+Ashish+Samaddar.
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Strong defense highlights first field hockey game

Co-captain senior Amelia Strom attempts to steal the ball during the Lady Mats’ game against Saint Francis High School on Sept. 5. Strom later suffered a leg injury, but walked off the field without assistance. Photo by Ashish Samaddar.

Co-captain senior Amelia Strom attempts to steal the ball during the Lady Mats’ game against Saint Francis High School on Sept. 5. Strom later suffered a leg injury, but walked off the field without assistance. Photo by Ashish Samaddar.

Co-captain senior Amelia Strom attempts to steal the ball during the Lady Mats’ game against Saint Francis High School on Sept. 5. Strom later suffered a leg injury, but walked off the field without assistance. Photo by Ashish Samaddar.

Co-captain senior Amelia Strom attempts to steal the ball during the Lady Mats’ game against Saint Francis High School on Sept. 5. Strom later suffered a leg injury, but walked off the field without assistance. Photo by Ashish Samaddar.

Nathan Desai

MVHS loses its first game of the season against Saint Francis High School.

Co-captain senior Amelia Strom attempts to steal the ball during the Lady Mats’ game against Saint Francis High School on Sept. 5. Strom later suffered a leg injury, but walked off the field without assistance. Photo by Ashish Samaddar.

Co-captain senior Amelia Strom attempts to steal the ball during the Lady Mats’ game against Saint Francis High School on Sept. 5. Strom later suffered a leg injury, but walked off the field without assistance. Photo by Ashish Samaddar.

After barely missing CCS last season, the MVHS field hockey team believed that it could meet, if not exceed, its performance last year. However, their season got off to a shaky start with a 2-0 loss to Saint Francis High School on Sept. 5.

The Lady Mats struggled out of the gate, unable to advance the ball past midfield for the first four minutes of the game. However, they played aggressively for the remainder of the half, earning seven penalty corners though unable to score from any of the set pieces. Despite the team’s familiarity with these plays, the Lady Mats still struggled with execution.

“We need to improve our communication on the field, so that we can get more passes going,” said co-captain senior Amelia Strom.

The Lady Mats missed on a few opportunities in the first half, with two shots by senior Sarah Im saved by the SFHS goalkeeper and a four-on-two opportunity halted by the Lancers’ defense. Heading into halftime, the two teams were still tied at zero.

In the second half, the roles were switched with SFHS attacking the MVHS defense instead. Seven minutes into the half, a Lancer shot took a deflection en route to goal and bounced off the side of the cage. Six minutes later, they were attacking the MVHS defense again, with a pileup in front of  goal leading to a SFHS shot that was blocked inches away from the goalline.

Even though goalkeeper junior Susie Han was playing her first game in goal, the Lady Mats’ defense was just as strong as the Lancers’ for most of the match.

“Overall, I feel like I did unusually well, because I thought I was going to let in more goals,” Han said. “I’m okay with my [performance], but I think I could have done better.”

Han was eventually bested by the SFHS attack, following a penalty corner with 16 minutes and 24 seconds left in the game. The Lancers grabbed another goal soon after, with a shot from 12 yards out finding the back of the cage with 13 minutes remaining.

MVHS attempted an all-out attack for the last 10 minutes of the game in hopes of coming back — but to no avail. With seven minutes left, Strom suffered a lower right leg injury, but walked off the field on her own. Even though she believed it was simply a muscle cramp, Strom would not return to the game.

The Lady Mats almost grabbed a consolation goal with three minutes remaining, but the Lancers maintained their clean sheet by blocking three consecutive MVHS shots from five yards out. SFHS was able to hang onto their lead, and the game finished 2-0.

Despite the loss, head coach Denise Eachus is still optimistic about the rest of the season.

“[SFHS] is a team that is consistently in CCS playoffs,” Eachus said. “[We] had a phenomenal game, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the team continue to improve and get wins.”

MVHS’ next home game will be Sept. 18 against Live Oak High School at 3:30 p.m.