Silver Chips Online

Blazers triumph over Titans

Varsity pulls through 4-0 on senior night

By Charles Kong, Online Op/Ed Editor
October 18, 2007
BLAZER FIELD, Oct. 18-


The night started off with enthusiastic cheers from players and parents of both teams, applauding the seniors for their efforts and contributions at their last home game. Music and drums echoed through the night. With raised spirits, the Blazers took charge of the game early on, and wrapped up their home season with a 4-0 finish over Einstein, bringing their record to 5-5-1.

Although Blair was in control for the majority of the game, Einstein started the first half with two successive offensive attacks, trampling Blazer territory within the first minute. Several of their offenders plowed through the wall of Blazer defenders and took a shot that hit the post of the Blair goal.

With possession of the ball, Blair retaliated with several assaults of its own. Junior Elsa Haag, unguarded, drove all the way to the Einstein circle up the left sideline until she was stopped by several Titans. Seniors Iliya Smithka, Cate McCraw and Naima Merella experienced the same fate, beautifully coordinating and passing the ball before encountering a wall of Titans. Clean, swift shots from senior co-captain Eve Kenney set up multiple opportunities to score.

Realizing that they weren't putting enough effort in, the Blazers decided to switch to turbo. Twelve minutes in the half, Blair received their first corner that translated into a goal through a series of passes. Kenney centered a shot to junior Sonya Kaufman, who saw Haag open on the left wing. Without stopping the ball, Haag then blasted the ball past the left foot of the goalie, hitting the cage dead center.

Seconds later, Kenney had another free hit, which flew past the opposing defenders into sophomore Nellie Garlow's possession. Garlow took the shot and hit a defender's foot, ending in a corner. Once Kenney received the ball, she executed another brilliant long drive directed toward the goal, and junior Julia Stratton boosted the ball into the center of the cage, giving the Blazers a 2-0 lead.

Five minutes later, the Blazers put in another goal. Stratton, traveling along the left field, struck a high ball to the Titan circle which went up for grabs. McCraw anticipated its landing and ended up with the ball right next to the Einstein goalie. She made contact with the ball, and tapped it in, securing a 3-0 lead to end the half.

The Blazers entered the second half with the same spirit and determination and immediately put pressure on the Einstein circle. A good effort was made by senior co-captain Helen Anderson, who played offense for the first time. A pass to Smithka and McCraw allowed them to draw closer to the goalie, but there were too many defenders in between.

But 10 minutes into the half, Smithka experienced another struggle with opposing defenders, and prevailed in the end. A long drive from Kenney centered it to Smithka, who pushed the ball in goal for the fourth Blazer point.

Einstein, determined to get their first goal, stepped it up a notch. They received a penalty corner on Blair 15 minutes in the half, but controlled stick movement from senior co-captain Claire Onley cleared the ball before they could do any damage.

Exchanges of possession occurred frequently as the second half dwindled down. Although the ball was mostly on Einstein territory, the Blazers could not get in another goal to complete a third 5-0 game.

Senior co-captain Sumih Chi believes this game was one of their best games of the season. "This game was awesome. This game was amazing," she said. "This was our senior night. We played with our hearts. We were a team."

Head coach Brook Franceschini was also pleased with the team's performance. "The intensity was great. Their passing was great," she said. "They are finally starting to work as a team."

Franceschini is especially proud of all the seniors who will be leaving the team next season. "It's a huge class that's leaving us," she said. "But it's nice to see the teamwork and effort they've put in for the past four years."

The varsity field hockey team plays its next game on Monday, Oct. 22 at Springbrook at 3:30 p.m.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/7846