Field Hockey seeks return to postseason

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PEGGY J SMITH

With their current record of 6-1, the Falcon Field Hockey team is starting the season off strong. With a game against John Champe on Sept. 12, the girls dominated their home turf with a score of 6-1. Scoring four goals in the first half, the team ended the game in a mercy rule, leading by six points in the last 15 minutes of the game. Senior Jo Quinn St. Ledger (co-captain) scored her first two goals since the start of her field hockey career four years ago, along with sophomores Jamie Renzi, Lucy Arnold, junior Meredyth Rankin, and freshman Abby McCuskter.
“Champe got a few corners in a row but [junior] Taylor DeHaven (goalie) did a good job as goal keeper, but for the most part we kept the ball in their defense,” St. Ledger said.
With a score of 1-0, FHS beat Loudoun County’s Freedom on Sept. 11. DeHaven says that defense worked hard on keeping the ball out of the net and overall, the excitement on the game was due to the close score.
“[The game] started out really slow but we knew that if we really tried to communicate we would beat them,” DeHaven said. “After the first 15 minutes we still weren’t communicating a whole lot, which was one of our biggest problems throughout the whole game. We had a lot of fast breaks and give and gos; defense was great on keeping the ball out of the circle. I only got a couple shots on me.”
On Sept. 7, the Falcons secured a 2-0 victory against Kettle Run at Falcon Field, resulting in a 2-0 win for FHS. Coach Brooke Settle wasn’t able to attend, because she was on maternity leave taking care of her newborn son, Landon. Junior Madison Filson said that the team played in dedication to their coach, and used that as motivation to win against the county rival Cougars
“It was kind of intense; our coach wasn’t there so we were faced timing her during half time and it really hyped us it.” Filson said. “During the second half we definitely picked up the intensity and had the motivation to get those goals and try our hardest, even if we had no energy left. [Playing against Kettle Run is] always a hard game and we always put our best in the game, so it was huge to win.”
Despite being early in the season, senior Caroline Diehl (co-captain) is confident in the team’s playing ability and says that the team needs to focus on having the right mentality in order to be successful on the field.
“It’s all about mentality,” Diehl said. “A lot of times when we play other teams we [psych ourselves out]. We care too much about what other schools and teams are up to but it doesn’t affect us and we shouldn’t be thinking about it. [We need to] just pushing aside what we think is going to happen and just play.”
On Aug. 30, the Falcons lost 2-0 versus Briar Woods, suffering their first loss of the season. After starting the game with a lack of intensity in the first half, Diehl says that part of the loss came from the change in terrain, since Fauquier fields have grass instead of turf. She said that starting out strong and working on fundamentals is a key factor in improving their game skills.
“It can take a while to build up our intensity, so think that’s our main thing [to work on],” Diehl said. “Our old formation was very defensive minded, it had a lot of gap in it, but our new one is more offensive that has support everywhere; since it’s early in the season it’s hard to tell but I think it’s going to help us a lot in being a more offensive things.”
St. Ledger said that switching the team’s lineup after its preseason scrimmage helped create more flow on the field and perfect their passing triangles, a tactic used to have multiple passing options. She also said that team bonding is essential to having chemistry on the field in field hockey, a sport where players are constantly shifting positions. However, there is always room for improvement.
“We can always communicate more; when you have communication, things can go a lot smoother,” St. Ledger said.  
Diehl said a main goal for the team, aside from playing to their full potential, is to have fun. In addition to practices, the team also tries to bond outside of school as well, by going to team sleepovers.
“The closer we are, the better we’re going to play and mesh on the field,” Diehl said. “We do have some fun, a lot of the times we’ll always do team bonding games but when it’s time to practice we get serious.”
The team’s chemistry allows the girls to communicate well DeHaven added.
“We’ve played together for three and four years,” DeHaven said. “W know what everyone’s strength and weaknesses are. So we try to place everyone in the positions that work for them. We try to be a fast paced team, we’re just well rounded all and all.”
Despite the early season, the team is confident in their abilities and hopes to make it back to states this year, to finish what they started.
“Everyone who is on the team is good skill wise but some fundamental things go a long way, like our passing and our shots,” Diehl said. “I can already tell we’re improving on our mistakes.”
~erica gudino, editor-in-chief