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Sept. 5, 2009

Girls' varsity field hockey conquers Kennedy

by Masha Lafen, Online Sports and Entertainment Editor
BLAZER FIELD, SEPT. 4 -

In the first official game on Blair's new artificial turf field, the varsity field hockey team demolished the Kennedy Cavaliers, launching their season with a 12-0 victory. The team easily outplayed their opponent, as the Blazers played most of the game on Kennedy's half of the field.

Blair started the game with a fast goal within the first five minutes. A swift assist from junior Janet Henkai and a quick tap from junior Miranda Bernard started the Lady Blazers on a rapid-fire scoring streak. By half-time, the score was 9-0.

Blair offense tries to get the ball before Kennedy's defenders do. Lorena Kowalewski
Blair offense tries to get the ball before Kennedy's defenders do.
When Kennedy midfielders managed to break away from Blair, senior co-captain and defender Laura Li consistently stole the ball, shooting it to the Blazer offense with a swift swipe of the stick.

At half-time, coach Brooke Franceschini told the team to focus on honing their skills instead of scoring. "We have been trying really hard to improve our stick skills, and testing them out on a game like this is perfect," Henkai said.

The Cavaliers' head coach Jaime Ambrosio admitted that Kennedy field hockey was not at its best because the team lost eight seniors last year. "This is our rebuilding year," she said.

At the beginning of the second half Blair team members cut back on their offense, allowing Kennedy to cross into their territory for the first time in the game. Li was disappointed that the Blazers let down their guard, even though this small gain was not enough to allow Kennedy to make a dent in Blair's overwhelming lead. "We didn't play with as much intensity even though we dominated the game," she said.

Finally, junior Blake Morgan-Gamber scored the first goal of the second half after a long back and forth struggle with penalties and corner passes.

Franceschini identified Morgan-Gamber and Henkai as having a large role in the team's victory, and mentioned that they were very effective when transitioning the ball. "They get the plays started," she said. Bernard also contributed significantly to Blazer success by skillfully scoring four goals throughout the game.

Franceschini believed the new turf playing ground posed no threat to Blair success. "I think we adapted well to the new field," she said. The smooth surface of the turf was a welcome change from the choppy grass field, and allowed Blazers to use lighter taps to make passes.

Although the team was happy with the victory, Franceschini admitted the girls have a lot of work ahead of them. "There's still a lot to do," Franceschini said. Li agreed, identifying the team's communication and use of the sidelines as key areas of improvement.

Despite the intense training ahead of them, winning the first game by such a wide margin was rewarding, according to Henkai. "It gets us motivated to know that we have the ability to win by so much," she said. "It's a great way to start the season off and gets us excited to play those higher ranked teams."

Field Hockey will play their next home game Tuesday, Sept. 8 against Einstein at 3:30 p.m.

Editor's Note: Junior Blake Morgan-Gamber is a staff writer on Silver Chips Online.



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