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Prep Field Hockey: Wildcats defense quiets Eagles
BY JUSTIN RICE
Bryce Barnes was arguably Mountain View’s best defender in 2011.
So it says a lot about the four girls playing back for the Wildcats this year that coach Pattie Sullivan moved Barnes up to the midfield for 2012.
“It’s our anchor,” Sullivan said. “Those four girls are solid back there.”
Tuesday Mountain View (9–0) allowed just three shots on goal and only one penalty corner to earn a 3–1 Commonwealth District win against Colonial Forge.
The Eagles (7–2) scored on their only first-half shot, but Mountain View responded with a two-goal flurry after the break, and its defense swept aside every second-half threat.
“Three shots—that’s what we want,” Mountain View defender Emily Reinwald said. “We want to minimize the shots.”
Emily Johnson scored both of Mountain View’s second-half goals, the first when she rebounded a shot by Barnes, and the second on a good hard shot off a pass from Caity Mafia.
The Wildcats had taken a 1–0 lead early in the game when Olivia Hubert fed the ball to Barnes at the left side of the Colonial Forge circle.
The Eagles’ Ashley Vastano answered six minutes before halftime on a pass from Nikki Simpao. It was the Wildcats’ only defensive breakdown in the game.
“They worked the ball around our circle really well, but that’s one we should have stepped up and taken away,” Reinwald said.
Mountain View’s defenders—Reinwald and Morgan Skavdahl in the middle, Beth Barnes and Colleen Hoffman on the wings—are used to being tested. They square off against the district’s best attack every day in practice.
Skavdahl wouldn’t guess who wins most of those offense-on-defense matches. “It’s definitely competitive, though,” she said.
Reinwald thinks the defense has the edge.
“We run 30 corners, offense might get two in,” she said. “There’s times when it gets a little too heated.
“Coach might say, ‘OK, you’ve got one chance to score,’ and then she gives them five more chances.”
It’s a pride thing, Reinwald said.
She and Skavdahl are returning starters. Beth Barnes and Hoffman both played last year, but this year they’re starters.
The foursome—plus goalie Caitlyn Nolan, who has had to stop few shots this season because of how well the defense has played—have a bond that Skavdahl said is a real asset.
“It’s always good to play with girls that you’re used to playing with,” she said. “We just need to continue working together and keep that chemistry.”
Reinwald has been impressed with the play of both new starters.
“Colleen is reliable,” Reinwald said. “You don’t have to worry about her side. And Beth, you’ve seen her mature so much from her freshman year.”
The practices are competitive, Sullivan said. So much so, she’s can’t let the offense and defense go constantly against each other.
But the defense surely improves squaring off against Mountain View’s attack.
“And I tell the offense,” Sullivan said, “‘It’s just going to make you that much stronger. If you can beat this defense, you can put it in against anybody.’”
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045