‘Every second counts’

Published 10:43 pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In a field hockey game like the one King’s Fork High School hosted on Wednesday, it seemed only fitting it would come down to a single stroke.

The Lady Bulldogs and Great Bridge High School played a scoreless 60 minutes of regulation followed by a scoreless 15 minutes of sudden-death overtime. It all led to a shootout, with each team offering five players to, one-by-one, take shots against the opposing team’s goalkeeper from seven yards out.

King’s Fork High School junior Randi Fiel initiates one of the Lady Bulldogs’ four penalty corners during Wednesday’s nail-biting home game against Great Bridge High School. The game went to overtime and then a shootout, ending in a 1-0 Lady Wildcats victory.

King’s Fork High School junior Randi Fiel initiates one of the Lady Bulldogs’ four penalty corners during Wednesday’s nail-biting home game against Great Bridge High School. The game went to overtime and then a shootout, ending in a 1-0 Lady Wildcats victory.

The goalies, including King’s Fork sophomore Carlee Morse, blocked the first set of shooters from each team, but the Lady Wildcats’ second stroke got through. That point proved to be enough, and Great Bridge took home a 1-0 victory.

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“I think we were pretty evenly matched, but when it came down to it, strokes got us,” Lady Bulldogs senior captain Kana Hashigami said.

Initially, King’s Fork head coach Courtney Van der Linden was upset with her team’s performance, but they came around, and she ended up feeling positive about their development thus far.

“We’re getting more shots, we’re just not getting lucky,” she said. “So, I think the next step is, we’re going to hopefully start getting goals.”

The Lady Bulldogs had nine shots on goal to the Lady Wildcats’ five. King’s Fork actually held the ball on Great Bridge’s side of the field for a decent amount of the game, but both teams experienced that advantage in the final minute of regulation.

Morse came up with one of her three saves with 45 seconds to go, and shortly thereafter King’s Fork charged down to the Lady Wildcats’ goal. There, Lady Bulldogs senior Holly Wilson took a shot, which the opposing keeper kicked into the air.

After an entire game with 0-0 on the scoreboard, the pressure was suddenly on.

“I really do wish I could have made it, but I was very nervous,” Wilson said.

A scramble for the ball continued as time expired, and a 15-minute overtime offered more of the same, but with an even greater level of difficulty. Overtime in a high school field hockey game means the normal 11-player teams are shrunk down to seven players, including the keeper.

“It’s just a lot more (ground) to cover and a lot more teamwork and running,” King’s Fork junior Randi Fiel said.

Both teams sustained penalties in the extra period that left them a man down at different points.

Van der Linden explained what it takes to be successful in overtime.

“It’s all about spatial awareness,” she said. “Overtime is usually won by people who can play the field smarter.”

She identified this theme as the main reason her team did not come out on top.

“They were playing harder, not smarter,” she said.

She said the teams have similar styles of game play, adding, “We both didn’t utilize the field well,” contributing to the close game with no score.

However, she noticed improve passing from the Lady Bulldogs, in part, because they avoided predictable patterns of where to send the ball in given situations.

“We had a better mixture this game,” she said.

In the shootout, Great Bridge held its 1-0 advantage as Fiel, the final King’s Fork shooter, came up for her shot. She later acknowledged the stakes: “It was pressure, but I definitely could have done better.” She offered a compliment to the Lady Wildcats keeper: “I’d say it was a nice block.”

Van der Linden was happy with her players’ performance, including Fiel’s.

“Even though she doesn’t feel like she did well, she did,” the coach said.

Especially noteworthy was the play of Carlee Morse, who Van der Linden said had not kept goal during a shootout before. She blocked four of five attempts and showed enthusiasm.

“I think she really stepped into her role,” Van der Linden said.

Fiel said the main thing she will take away from this game is the knowledge that “every second counts. I don’t know who said that, but it really does matter.”