By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 11 2016
There wasn’t much doubt about the Red Hawks field hockey team and their chance to win after tallying a pair of goals in the opening minutes at their home opener against the visiting Holy Cross Hurricanes in Kawartha High School Field Hockey League play.
On Tuesday Oct. 4 the league’s defending champions shut out the winless Hurricanes (0-2 entering play) 3-nil.
The red and white dominated nearly every facet of the game keeping ball possession in the offensive zone for more than 90 per cent of the game and easily out chanced the visitors. Emma Scheffee quickly got the ball rolling with a goal in the opening minutes followed by goals from Claire Karaguesian minutes after and then an insurance marker in the second half from Jenna Hughes.
At the back goalkeeper Sonya Flatman finished with the shutout but wasn’t busy thanks to her forwards midfielders and defensive corps of Alicia Villamere Emily Glecoff Gillian King and Mia Quigley.
Co-coach Steve Smith said his team found extra motivation from an article in the Peterborough Examiner which called the Hawks’ 1-nil win a victory for their opponents from Peterborough the Crestwood Secondary School Mustangs.
“I said to them they’ve put down the gauntlet for you and they’re coming for you so it’s your time to respond. You got to send a message back to the schools in Peterborough. So here we go” he said.
Smith liked what he saw from his team in the home opener but knows his team can improve.
“We worked a lot on short corners the last couple of days and they had their chances. We still have some things to work on for short corners. They’ve got some tools that we’re working on. It’s coming” he said.
The team also used this game to try a new strategy with short corners where the player passing it in from the back line sends it to a player behind the attacking forwards who rush forward to the net once the ball is sent out. He said this helps to keep the defence stretched out and provides more space for his offence.
The lopsided ball possession statistic was aided in large part by the stick skills of the Hawks players.
“They were carrying the ball really well today. They carried it well down our right side which is what I want them to do and then make the cut for the arc” he said.
He adds this game also highlighted how the first year players such as Paige Billings and players from the varsity B squad of last year “really stepped up their game.”
Hurricanes coach Mike Whibbs conceded the disparity between the two teams but appreciated his team’s effort in the defensive end despite its lack of time in the Hawks’ end and admitted issues with depth for the mainly Grade 11 varsity squad.
“I’m pretty proud of them. I think they played a great game defensively. Haliburton is always a tough team and they always just bring it. They’re just a force to be reckoned with. They always have been and I’m pretty happy with how we did here” he said.
He said his team played better in the second half which garnered their best chance at a goal with an odd player rush and a chance in close. The last place team may be winless but not without hope.
Whibbs adds his AA team still has an outside chance to make the playoffs. He admits it will come down to mathematics.
In contrast the Hawks appearance in the playoffs is not a matter if but rather when.
Smith believes his team can still improve even after this win which comes after a solid performance at a tournament in Ottawa and a 4-0 record in a recent tournament win in Peterborough.
“There is still another level [they can reach] and we’re just going to reach down and try to grab it” he said.