Sporting WCA

Field Hockey Shows Promise in First Win

The Wildcats field hockey team battled through three called back goals to edge the Marquette Catholic Explorers 1-0 in Monday’s season opener.


Captain Haley Schmer has high hopes for the season after the strong showing in yesterday’s game; “It’s cool to see how far we’ve come from four years ago when we started and we didn’t even know what a corner was, to scoring on a corner in our first game. It’s really encouraging to see our developement.”


After a slow start to the game, the Cats went on a 12 minute streak of complete dominance. From 23:00 to 11:00 the Wildcats kept Marquette from getting the ball across midfield, earned 11 corners, created 6 good scoring opportunities, but unfortunately the Explorer’s goalie played out of her mind and kept the Cats off the board.


Going into halftime, the game was still scoreless. Westminster was encouraged by the chances they had but knew they needed to capitalize if they were going to pull off the win. These two teams faced off last year in one of the longest field hockey games ever. They played the whole game plus two 15 minute overtimes, a shootout (dribbling the ball toward the goal like ice hockey) and strokes (stationary hits similar to a soccer penalty kick). In total, the game lasted around 3 hours and, worst of all, ended in a 0-0 tie. Hannah Sturr, a sophomore defender for the Cats, said that the team used last years game as fuel for the second half. “We all knew how our previous game with Marquette [Catholic] had gone and nobody wanted to repeat that. We came out with a lot of energy and we knew we would finally score off of one of our opportunities.”


And score they did, or at least they thought they did. The Cats rushed the goal off of the second half faceoff and forced a corner within the opening minute. They swung the ball to Haley Schmer off the inbound who hit a beautiful ball into the left corner of the net. The captain began to celebrate with her teammates when the official ran over, pointing at a player’s arm. She called that the ball had deflected off of a Westminster body and therefore did not count.


The Cats were upset, but they never let their guard down. They continued to play strong defense, and in the 23 minute, just 6 minutes after the no-goal, sophomore Morgan Sickles took an outlet pass all the way down the field and crossed it to Schmer. She wound up and shot the ball from just inside the striking circle, landing it in the side netting for a sure goal. But as before the referee came running over, pointing frantically. This time she said Schmer was being guarded too closely for an outside shot, and once again, the score went back to 0-0.


By now, the Cats were extremely upset that they had scored twice but were still tied. They went on yet another major offensive push in the 20 minute. Morgan received the ball at the 25 yard line (not football) and made an excellent move to get around her defender. She crossed it to Haley, who settled it and ripped a low shot into the goal…again. The referee came over once again and said the goal would not be counted because she thought it hit someone’s shoe. Haley disagreed, saying, “The first two [called back goals] were hard for me to tell, but there was no question about the last one. It was on the ground the entire time, never even close to a player’s shoe.” But despite her frustration, she kept her thoughts to herself and kept playing.


The Cat’s next chance came with 15 minutes left in regulation. Once again Morgan Sickles crossed a ball to the middle that hit an Explorer’s foot, resulting in a corner. The corner was played out to Haley, who continued the ball to junior Lexi Berra. Berra saw the opportunity and one timed it just past the goalie’s right pad. At long last, the goal stood, and the Wildcats led 1-0.


Westminster would create more chances in the final 10 minutes but scored no more goals. The only times Marquette had quality shots were on a few fluke breakaways. On two of the breakaways, Wildcat defenders were able to run down the ball handler and force her to turn it over and take a bad shot. The other times sophomore goalie Chloe Haupfear came up with some big saves.


Schmer said she was impressed with the younger players on the team and is confident in the team’s ability to learn from their mistakes as well as their good plays. One player she was very impressed with was Morgan Sickles. “She’s not big,” Schmer said, “but her quickness allows her to find space and give us great chances to score.”


Even though the scoreboard doesn’t show it, the Wildcats really dominated their first game and it looks like it’ll be a good season for their young field hockey program.


The Cat’s next game isn’t until September 2 at Sportport under the lights at 8:15p.m. vs S. Oldham.