Wakefield stuns Jefferson in field hockey

September 21, 2011

Wakefield upset Jefferson on Tuesday night to win its first game in, well, no one seems to know for sure. That’s how long its been.

The Warriors’ winless streak goes back at least to the 2007 season, which pre-dates the current coaching staff. School athletic officials did not know what year the team last won a game.

Regardless, Wakefield’s 2-1 overtime victory sparked a home-field celebration the likes of which no current player had ever taken part in. The Warriors (1-10) had been outscored 44-0 this season before managing single goals in their two games leading up to Tuesday night’s against Jefferson (5-5).

“The girls were absolutely ecstatic, running on the field, crying and screaming,” fourth-year Wakefield Coach Stephanie Dickel said. “It couldn’t have been a better way to win their first game.”

Senior Jessica Valarezo scored both goals on breakaways, including one that tied the game with about eight minutes left in regulation. Her second goal came about eight minutes into the extra period.

Other than Stone Bridge, which does not offer field hockey, Wakefield is the only Northern Region school to not have at least one sub-varsity program to help develop players for the varsity. Twenty-one girls tried out for the team, including three seniors, and Dickel kept all 21.

Dickel hopes the win, followed by more, could result in a greater turnout and enough players to field a junior varsity squad.

“The stronger we get and the better we get and the closer the games are will be good for us,” Dickel said.

On balance, or not

Anne Arundel County is piloting a new unbalanced schedule with its field hockey teams this season, and the county hopes to expand it to more sports in future seasons if the field hockey programs deem it a success.

Competitive imbalance has been an issue in Anne Arundel field hockey for years, and the new tiered schedule is supposed to create more games between evenly-matched teams.

The county’s 12 field hockey programs were divided into three tiers based on their records from last season, with Severna Park, South River and Broadneck forming one tier, Annapolis, Arundel, Chesapeake, North County, Northeast and Southern forming a second tier and Meade, Old Mill and Glen Burnie forming a third.

The teams in the first and third tier play two regular-season games against the other teams in their tier, and don’t play the teams in the other extreme tier at all.

Previously, every team in the county played every other team once, but now only the teams in the second tier face everybody.

So far, the plan has drawn mixed reviews.

Coaches from the county’s top programs like the idea of playing more games that will prepare them for the postseason, but also worry that their postseason seed could be affected by the tougher schedule.

“Depending on whether you win or lose those four [top-tier] games, the schedule could really hurt you or really help you,” South River Coach Katie Corcoran said. “You could finish out of the top four in your [playoff] region, and then you might have to travel and play a playoff game on a field you’re not used to playing on.”

Commonwealth showdown

McLean-Lake Braddock was not the only game Tuesday night that pitted region finalists from last year.

Mountain View won 2-1 at Stafford to help salve four 2010 losses to the Indians, including in the Virginia AAA Commonwealth District and Northwest Region championships, each by one goal.

Mountain View junior Caity Maffia and senior All-Met Bailee Hubert each scored in the second half and junior Bryce Barnes had three stick saves.

Unlike the districts in the Northern Region, the nine schools in the Commonwealth District face each other twice during the regular season and do not play any games outside the district.

So Mountain View (7-0) and Stafford (7-1) will meet again Oct. 20. That was a fact that Wildcats Coach Pattie Sullivan wanted to emphasize because she thought her players overprepared for their match at Stafford last year.

“I really worked with my team hard all week just saying this is another game, let’s don’t get all pumped up about it,” Sullivan said. “Mentally we needed to stay composed and be confident and competitive. Last year we got so psyched up and then we went there and lost all composure.”

After Moffia’s goal made it 1-0, Stafford’s Erin Gallivan assisted Sam Heflin to tie the score. Hubert notched the game winner in the last five minutes, off an assist from freshman Gretchen Giesler.

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