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HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY PREVIEW: ’Catseyerepeat of ’13 title run

It will be hard to one-up the best season in school history, but Mountain View’s field hockey team is ready to give it a try.

“We want it again,” said senior Olivia Hubert, who was a key part of the Wildcats’ run to the 2013 5A state title, the first in school history. “We have high expectations and we want to make it a tradition.”

The Wildcats have nine seniors this year—nine contributors who have played huge roles for the team since they were freshmen. And the number of “Field Hockey State Champions!” stickers dotting cars in the Mountain View parking lot shows the amount of talent returning.

SCHEDULE

FALL PREVIEWS

Football isn’t everything. The Free Lance–Star is previewing the other fall high school sports this week as well.

Tuesday: Cross country

Wednesday: Volleyball

TODAY: Field hockey

(Golf preview ran Aug. 14)

But before they get too far, coach Pattie Sullivan is happy to slam on the brakes.

“I’m trying to take that away from them at this point,” Sullivan said. “Even though we have those nine seniors, there’s still work to do. Until we prove ourselves on the field, we don’t need to think about [a state championship.]”

The primary preseason hurdle this year for Mountain View is replacing two graduated midfielders. Hubert returns at center mid, scorer Gretchen Geisler is back at center forward and Lauren Graves will anchor the middle of the defense.

But the two girls flanking Hubert in the midfield are key in both the attack and the defense. Figuring out who will fill that role is Sullivan’s first task.

“We’ve lost some strong players over the last two year,” senior defender Emily Johnson said. “People have to get used to playing positions they didn’t play before. [The young players] are adjusting really well, and they’re working well with the team.”

The defense returns mostly intact, with Johnson, Graves and Beth Barnes all back. It’s a group that wasn’t challenged much last season, but they stand ready when called upon.

“We’ve had a lot of intensity at practice,” Barnes said. “We know we’re going against some of the best offensive players in the state. It’s a lot of motivation and a lot of fun.”

And try as she might, Sullivan can’t completely quash thoughts of a second state championship.

Hubert said she knows the players are thinking of it.

“I think the pressure is even higher,” she said. “We’re expected to be No. 1, so we’ve got to live up to that.”

And for Geisler, yes—winning their first state title last year was a great motivator all season. But now that the Wildcats have a chance to win a second ring?

“I think we’re just working hard again,” she said. “We know we have that opportunity. We’re going to work harder to show everyone we can do it again.

“Once you have one, you want another, and you really can’t settle for less.”

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/hsfb/2014/08/28/high-school-field-hockey-preview-catseyerepeat-of-13-title-run/