Holy Child Field Hockey
Gryphons, Morello Blank Kingswood
By Melanie Cane
It doesn’t seem right to schedule a home opener on the day of the SAT’s, but that’s just how it happened on September 8 with Holy Child’s field hockey game against Kingswood Oxford. Just days after winning their first away game against St. Luke’s 1-0 with a full team, the Gryphons faced the Wyverns — missing three of their four senior captains. They met the challenge with a 1-0 win.
The Gryphons started the game strong. Senior captain Martina Garate-Griot helped the team dominate possession for the first 15 minutes and earn a couple of corner shots. She got off a great one from 8 meters. Kingswood’s goalie stopped the shot, but it led to a corner penalty. Sara Shultis hit a rocket off the corner pass which the goalie stopped in mid-air.
The Wyverns gained control with 13 minutes to go in the half, with a zinger from the right wing that Gryphon goalie Isabella Morello saved. Lekha English retrieved the ball and ran upfield alone. She took a shot from the right side which Kingswood’s goalie Caitlin Budzick saved. The Wyverns threatened with nine minutes to play on a scramble in front of the net, but the Gryphons defense was ready for them. Emma McCuin, Katie McCuin, and Claire Doyle made a wall in front of the net. Holy Child created several scoring opportunities near the end of the half. Kate McConnell, Sara Shultis, and Garate-Griot all got off great shots which Kingswood’s goalie saved. Morello made a beautiful save herself in the last minute resulting in a scoreless first half.
In the second half, Kingswood came out with more intensity, limiting most of the play to their right side of the field and taking more shots. After rapid back and forth and more great saves by both goalies, the Gryphons finally got on the board with 11 minutes remaining. In transition, Garate-Griot carried the ball into the circle, hit Shultis on the wing and Shultis shot a perfect diagonal on the ground finding the back of the net.
Kingswood answered with several shots and corner plays, all saved by Morello. The Gryphons took charge in the final four minutes. Cynthia DeMarinis launched several on-point shots which were saved, and Garate-Griot had the presence of mind to stall in the last minute to preserve Holy Child’s 1-0 victory. Morello made an impressive 18 saves.
New Head Coach Louisa Polos and Assistant Coach Marq Mellor exclaimed, “It was a great game!” Polos elaborated: “It was a hard-fought battle against a solid team. We were excited to try many of the new skills and concepts we have been working on in practice such as seeing the field better and making better decisions. We picked up the pace as the game progressed and our passing improved. Our defense was amazing. The victory was an added bonus!”
Martina Garate-Griot stopping the ball
Lekha English, center, and Sara Shultis on defense