Silver Chips Online

Blair tramples Rams

Blazers cruise over Rockville 5-0

By Charles Kong, Online Op/Ed Editor
September 25, 2007
BLAZER FIELD, SEPT. 24 -

Blair's varsity field hockey team pulled off an easy 5-0 victory over the Rockville Rams today, bringing their record to 2-2-1. Effective communication, clean passes and strategic positioning were vital to the team's success.

The Blazers were in control throughout the entire game, dominating possession of the ball and skillfully maneuvering between opposing defenders. Starting with the ball, the Blazers immediately put pressure on the Rams with an offensive assault that ended with a near score, missing by only a few feet. Blair continued the attack by intercepting free hits from Rockville which ended in two more impressive but unsuccessful attempts at getting on the board early.

After several more minutes of clashing sticks and scrambling players on Rockville territory, Blair had the opportunity to score. Eleven minutes into the first half, two consecutive corners and an assist from senior Naima Merella led to a hard-fought goal by senior Iliya Smithka.

The rest of the half centered on the Rockville goalie circle. Blair had another opportunity to score when junior Julia Stratton took an airborne shot that was blocked by the Rockville goalie. After a period of struggle over the ball, Blair received another corner shot that missed the goal by inches.

As in the start of the first half, Blair commanded possession in the second half without hesitation and had one corner and two opportunities to increase their lead, but failed to convert on either.

A long pass across the field to junior Elsa Haag created another window of opportunity. With no defender in the area, she dribbled up to the goalie circle, but her shot missed by several inches.

Later, a speedy turnover five minutes into the half gave co-captain Cate McCraw a whack at the goal, increasing Blair's lead to 2-0. Three minutes later, Stratton crossed the ball to McCraw, who was open inside the goalie circle and put the Blazers on the board again.

Still on fire, the Blazers didn't stop there. While the Blair defense was having an easy time on their side of the field, the offense was going for yet another goal. An assist by McCraw allowed Haag to shoot the ball in between the Rockville goalie's legs, adding another Blazer point.

With four minutes left, victory was imminent, but the Blazers did not lose concentration. Continually putting pressure on the Rams, Blair attacked the goal aggressively. After two consecutive corners, Smithka scored the final goal, securing the game 5-0.

Head coach Brook Franceschini attributed the team's success to excellent teamwork, especially in the second half. "In the first half, we did not capitalize on many scoring opportunities," she said. "But in the second half, we spread out and utilized our passes more effectively."

Co-captain Claire Onley agreed to the improvement the team made in the latter portion of the game. "I think our passes were excellent," she said. "We also spread out more in the [opponent's] goalie circle."

The varsity field hockey team plays its next home game on Wednesday, Oct. 3 against Wheaton at 3:30 p.m.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/7763