Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Field hockey: Streaks fend off Vikes for win No. 699

LEBANON TWP. -- Warren Hills' field hockey team isn't settling for second best this season. But a second win over archrival Voorhees is certainly acceptable.

Senior Samantha Dugan set the tone by converting on an early penalty stroke and sophomore forward Maddie Summitt scored the decisive goal later in the first half to give Warren Hills a hard-fought and entertaining 2-1 victory on Tuesday afternoon in a crucial Skyland Conference Raritan Division showdown on the gorgeous new turf at Richard Degnan Field.
Warren Hills has won seven of last eight vs. Voorhees.

Warren Hills (12-0 overall, 11-0 division), which also handed Voorhees a 2-0 loss in the season opener for both on Sept. 3 and has won seven of the last eight meetings in the series, is now firmly in the driver's seat in the chase for a Raritan Division title -- holiding a 2 1/2-game lead with four remaining to play. The Blue Streaks, ranked No. 1 in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area by Open Mike and who are off to the best start in the program's 55-season history, were runners-up in the division, as well as the county and Group 3 tournaments last season.

"We don't want to be second in anything this season," said Dugan, whose 10th goal of the season -- a perfectly-placed shot high into the left corner of the cage and past Voorhees goalie Noelle Gabrish -- put Warren Hills in good position to record the program's 699th win. "We really want [the division title]."

The magnitude of that early goal wasn't lost on Dugan, who ranks in the program's top 10 for career goals and points.

"It was definitely something we needed," the Quinnipiac University recruit said. "In the circle, we had our opportunities. This was a 1 v. 1 and I knew it would get us ahead. Once we got that, we were good from there."

No. 2 Voorhees (9-3, 8-2), which had its nine-game win streak snapped and still owns a 34-27-6 edge in the series dating to 1975, certainly made it a tough go for the favored visitors. Senior forward Brooke Hyland knotted the game at 1 off a feed from senior center midfielder Lauren Kokoskie on a penalty corner with 19:40 left in the first half, nearly two minutes after Dugan converted the stroke.

But Warren Hills regained the lead for good when Summitt put back her own rebound at the left post as the Streaks applied some heavy pressure in the circle with 16:22 left before halftime -- her third goal of the season.

"We had so many chances [to score]," said second-year coach Shannon Hughes, whose Vikes finished with an 8-7 advantage in shots-on-goal, including two second-half rocket blasts from Hyland and junior center back Grace Schiavo, who was outstanding on defense, along with sophomore left back Sadie Eichlin, that went off the pads of Warren Hills goalie Julia Webber.

"Both teams played so hard. I thought our girls left everything out on the field. Grace Schiavo probably played her best game. She's a workhorse back there [on defense]."

The tide swung Voorhees' way in the second half as the Vikes, who hadn't lost since a 5-1 setback at West Essex on Sept. 5 to start 0-2, came out strong off an early corner, but couldn't convert. Both defenses were outstanding, as Warren Hills was unable to get a shot-on-goal until junior left wing Simryn Desai hit one off Gabrish's pads with 10:59 left to play. The Streaks managed just two more, including another off the pads by Dugan with about 30 seconds on the clock.

"In the second half, we were a little bit more defensive," said coach Josie Potter, whose team will go for the program's 700th win at home against Madison on Friday. "The conversation at halftime was to play a more composed game. On occasions, we got a little emotional on the field, and we tend to miss-hit and some of that stuff. There were [yellow] cards in the first half so we played more composed and played a little more of a possession game."

Warren Hills' deep and talented backfield was on display again, led by sophomore Emily Dvorsky and juniors Liz Schlaffer and Kylie Compton, as the group weathered a storm down the stretch and denied Voorhees at every opportunity, including Hyland's one-on-one with Webber, who was sharp all game and recorded seven huge saves, in the final 1:15.

"Kylie, Emily and I know where we are at all times," said Schlaffer, a two-year starter who was stellar on the left side of the field. "Even if we lag in one spot, we pick up in another. We have that bond. Our goal is to not let [opponents] past the 25. Then, not let them in the circle, and then don't allow a shot."

After losing the title to Voorhees last season, Warren Hills was determined to not let that happen a second straight year. The top-seeded Streaks are also looking for redemption after a 1-0 loss in overtime to Hackettstown in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament final. Could a third meeting with Voorhees, the No. 2 seed, be in the cards? It's something that's happened seven times before, including the old Hunterdon-Warren Tournament.

"We have some very tough teams in Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex to get by," Dugan said. "I don't want to say for sure, but a third [meeting with Voorhees] would not be a surprise."

Warren Hills (12-0, 11-0)                  2                   0            --    2
Voorhees (9-3, 8-2)                          1                   0            --    1


First half -- WH, Samantha Dugan, 10th, (penalty stroke), 21:15; V, Brooke Hyland, 6th, (Lauren Kokoskie), 19:40; WH, Maddie Summitt, 3rd, 16:22.

Shots -- Warren Hills 7; Voorhees 8.

Saves -- Julia Webber 7 (WH); Noelle Gabrish 5 (V).

Penalty corners -- Warren Hills 8; Voorhees 8.

No comments:

Post a Comment