Thursday, October 25, 2012

Field hockey: High Point set for annual Pink clash

One of the great field hockey traditions in our area continues Friday night at High Point Regional High School, when the Wildcats host Sussex County rival Wallkill Valley in the annual Play Pink game at 6 p.m. under the lights at Arthur Smith Stadium.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Cecilia's Angels Fund to benefit cancer patients at Chilton Memorial Hospital and the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. Last year, High Point earned a 2-1 win over Vernon in the Pink clash.

Wallkill Valley coach Irene Chernati (far left) and High Point coach Bev Keur flank their players who are holding the jerseys they will wear on Friday.
High Point senior forward Darby Smith is continuing the tradition started by her older sister, Taylor, who played in the first event a few years ago.

"It means a lot to me and my family," Smith said after scoring the decisive goal in Monday's 1-0 win against Hunterdon Central in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex semifinals. "I lost an aunt to breast cancer. This is a huge game. It's getting to the point where it's a really big event."

All proceeds from the event ticket sales, donations from local sponsors, concessions, T-shirt sales and 50-50 raffle will go directly to the cancer charities. Last year's game raised over $12,000.

The game features two of the most successful coaches ever to grace the Sussex County sidelines.

High Point's Bev Keur, who waged and won her own battle against cancer, is in her 22nd season overall and is 327-114-5 in three stints at the Wantage school. Longtime Wallkill Valley coach Irene Chernati's teams are 345-171-7 in her 27 seasons with the Rangers.

High Point (16-1-1), which has won 11 straight and 40 in a row in American Division play, hasn't faced Wallkill Valley (11-5-2), which plays in the Freedom Division, since 2009 -- a 2-1 road win for the Rangers on Sept. 25. The two schools met annually as members of the former Sussex County Interscholastic League. The SCIL folded after the 2008 season, and both schools joined the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference for 2009.

The 'Cats won the last SCIL contest, 1-0, on Nov. 4, 2008. High Point also earned a 3-2 win in the first meeting that season. Wallkill Valley swept both meetings in 2007 -- 2-1 in overtime on Sept. 26 and 2-0 on Oct. 25.

"It's exciting to have the chance to play against Wallkill Valley," Smith said.

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