Monday, September 9, 2019

Field hockey: Fenner, Streaks shift into winning gear

WASHINGTON TWP. -- Warren Hills' field hockey team knows exactly where it wants to be at season's end, just don't expect players and coaches to readily discuss it.

"Our coach [Josie Potter] always tells us, 'One game at a time,'" said senior midfielder/back Kate Fenner, who scored her first goal of the season in Monday afternoon's 4-0 win over Watchung Hills in a Skyland Conference crossover contest at Warren Hills School District Stadium.

Coach speak aside, Warren Hills (4-0 overall, 4-0 division) knows it's the favorite to win a ninth straight sectional title and make a return trip to the Group 3 final in early November.

Warren Hills started 4-0 for the third time in five seasons.
Fenner, a captain and integral part of last season's run to the program's eighth consecutive sectional championship and its seventh straight state final appearance, provided an offensive spark against Watchung Hills (0-3, 0-3). Fenner, a Fairfield University commit, who opened the game as the sweeper, shifted to the center-midfield spot midway through the first half. The move paid quick dividends as she knocked in a rebound to the right-corner of the cage with 6:08 left to give the Streaks a 2-0 lead.

"I felt like we played a much more offensive game with that change," said Potter, who moved junior Kylie Compton from the midfield to the sweeper spot to get Fenner more involved up front, where senior Samantha Dugan also got things going when she bumped up from the midfield to the forward line.

"We came out a little flat and we needed an offensive push. Sam Dugan played awesome. She's goal hungry and Kylie, who played sweeper last year, she's a wall [in the backfield] for us."

Fenner, who prefers to play in the midfield, noticed something lacking on the offensive end and was glad to make the switch as the Streaks collected win No. 691 as a program.

"We weren't communicating and our forwards were getting all jumbled," Fenner said. "[The offense] really wasn't going up the field. I really wanted to give us that offensive push."

Junior left inner Simryn Desai opened the scoring with the first of her two goals off a feed from junior Sarah Korczukowski with 11:48 to go in first half. After Fenner's goal provided some breathing room, Warren Hills, which closed out the half strong, recording 10 shots-on-goal. Defensively, Compton, sophomore Emily Dvorsky (one beautiful defensive save) and junior Liz Schlaffer helped keep things in check -- allowing just one shot by Watchung in the first half.

Desai made it 3-0 early in the second half -- with an assist from Dugan -- on a penalty corner for her team-leading third goal of the season. Sophomore Maddie Summitt, who also provided a spark off the bench, capped the scoring with her first goal of the season at the 3:25 mark. The Streaks also had two goals called back earlier in the game, finishing with a 17-1 edge in shots and a 10-1 advantage on corners.

After opening the season with a big 2-0 win over nemesis Voorhees at home on Sept. 3, followed by road victories over Hillsborough (3-1 on Thursday) and Phillipsburg (3-0 on Saturday), Warren Hills will host North Hunterdon at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday before another big test at Bridgewater-Raritan, the Group 4 runner-up the previous 14 seasons, on Saturday at 2 p.m.

"[The game against Voorhees] was back-and-forth, they're always a strong team," Fenner said. "We know we have to take it one at a time. I know some of the North Hunterdon players and they said their No. 1 goal this season is to beat Warren Hills. Obviously, our overall goal is to be in the state finals."

Watchung Hills (0-3, 0-3)                  0                   0            --    0
Warren Hills (4-0, 4-0)                       2                   2            --    4


First half -- War, Simryn Desai, 2nd, (Sarah Korczukowski), 11:48; War, Kate Fenner, 1st, 6:08.

Second half -- War, Desai, 3rd, (Samantha Dugan), 24:53; War, Maddie Summitt, 1st, 3:25.

Shots -- Watchung Hills 1; Warren Hills 17.

Saves -- Sarah Bruno 11, Madeline Gully 1 (defensive) (Wat); Julia Webber 0, Emily Dvorsky 1 (defensive) (War).

Penalty corners -- Watchung Hills 1, Warren Hills 10.

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