Oct. 29, 2007

Red blanks Blue in All-Star extravaganza


Christian Academy’s Ellen West noticed the obvious discrepancy when she looked at each team’s bench during the Senior All-Star Game at the University of Louisville’s Trager Stadium on Sunday.

“It seemed like we had half as many girls as they had,” she said. “I thought we’d get all worn out.”

OK, so the Blue Team had eight more players than the Red Team, which finished the game with just one healthy reserve.

But the Red Team was no worse for the wear. West scored the only goal it needed and Ballard’s Amanda Seeley scored two more in a 3-0 win over the Blue Team.

Anyway, that personnel problem was just a little hitch in the Kentucky High School Field Hockey Coaches Association’s groundbreaking event, which brought together most of the sport’s best seniors for an entertaining game and introduced the Miss Field Hockey award winner, the Bunny Daugherty Defensive Player award winner and the Kentucky Select teams in one prestigious afternoon.

“It was a great day,” said Assumption coach Debbie Judd, who led the Blue Team with Manual’s Terri Kendall and Mercy’s Kelly Setser. “We had great players here who love the game, and we had fun. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

The game was divided into four 15-minute quarters instead of the standard two 30-minute halves. The Red Team’s roster included players from District 1 teams Ballard, Kentucky Country Day and South Oldham and players from District 2 teams Christian Academy, Sacred Heart and Eastern. The Blue Team’s roster included players from District 3 teams Assumption, Collegiate and Male and players from District 4 teams Holy Cross, Manual, Mercy, Presentation and St. Francis. (Complete rosters are listed below.)

As Assumption goalie Jennifer McGill can attest, the Red Team was loaded with offense. Four of the top six goal scorers this season were on the field, and three - KCD’s Christena Burell (31 goals - 1st), Sacred Heart’s Taylor Collins (25 goals - 5th) and West (24 goals - 6th) - were on the Red Team. Assumption’s Lauren Scheming (26 goals - 3rd) was on the Blue Team. That count doesn’t even include Seeley (16 goals - 11th).

“I think that played into things,” McGill said.

It certainly did for her. The teams put a total of 13 shots on goal in the game, and McGill (6 saves) faced eight of them in just two quarters. But she had no complaints.

“I love getting action,” she said. “I hate standing around, and playing for Assumption I’m used to standing around a lot. So this was a great opportunity, to play in a game with such good offensive players. It was like heaven for me.”

The experience was new for Seneca’s Emily Milby, too. After a season in which the RedHawks allowed 96 goals in 23 games, Milby played all 60 minutes and stopped the only shot that targeted the Red Team’s cage.

“It was a lot different than playing for (Seneca),” she said.

But Milby was not supposed to play the entire game, which goes back to the disparity in numbers.

Originally, the Red Team was going to consist of as many as three players from each of the eight teams in District 1 and District 2 (including Eastern and Fern Creek), and the Blue Team was going to consist of as many as three players from each of the nine teams in District 3 (including Atherton) and District 4.

But Christian Academy, which placed second in District 2, nominated only West for the game; South Oldham and District 2’s Eastern also each nominated only one player; and District 2’s Fern Creek did not nominate anyone.

So Presentation coach Jill O’Bryan, who did most of the behind-the-scenes work to make the game happen, shifted Atherton’s three players - including a goalie - to the Red Team. But that move backfired. Atherton’s players and Eastern’s player were no-shows, and Sacred Heart’s Hannah English was visiting Davidson College.

The result: the Red Team had 13 players available while the Blue Team had 21.

“We have a few things to learn from,“ O’Bryan said. “We want to make sure that we have 100 percent participation from the schools, with players from each team, and we’ll definitely work on balancing the teams better.”

The imbalance left the two coaching staffs with different tasks. The Red Team had only one reserve after South Oldham’s Kaitlynn Bramer left with a nagging hamstring injury in the first half.

“I’m kind of glad we didn’t have to sub in,” said Seneca coach Carrie Jackson, who led the Red Team with Christian Academy’s Andrea Roussel and Eastern’s Monnie Elzy. “One girl would come out for a few minutes, and then she would take out whoever she wanted. They all got a lot of playing time. It worked pretty well.”

The Blue Team obviously had to use a more structured approach.

“You want to try to give everyone the same amount of playing time and work them into positions they’re familiar with,” Judd said. “It took a bit of getting our heads together to figure out the substitutions, but it went well. The girls did fine wherever we put them.”

Most importantly, they enjoyed it.

“It was so much fun,” West said. “I loved being able to play again. I was so sad when our season was over.”

RED TEAM: Atherton’s Lindsey Hammers, Lasue Karneh and Jasmine Rigor; Ballard’s Anna Miller, Kelsey Rothberg and Amanda Seeley; Christian Academy’s Ellen West; Eastern’s Tori Bates; Kentucky Country Day’s Christena Burell, Maggie Flowers and Gray Robinson; Sacred Heart’s Taylor Collins, Hannah English and Devanny Kuhn; Seneca’s Allie Alford, Anne Fowler and Emily Milby; South Oldham’s Kaitlynn Bramer. Coaches: Christian Academy’s Andrea Roussel, Eastern’s Monnie Elzy and Seneca’s Carrie Jackson.

BLUE TEAM: Assumption’s Jennifer McGill, Lauren Noe and Lauren Schmeing; Collegiate’s Ellen Bruenderman, Liz Ratliff and Sara Sanders; Holy Cross’ Mary Lanham, Gina Perronie and Kayla Schum; Male’s Jill Green, Jamie Kraemer and Jen Seewer; Manual’s Becky Douglas, Samantha Seger and Allison Whitehouse; Mercy’s Katie Norris, Mary Alice Pierce and Amy Wimsatt; Presentation’s Caitlin Maguire and Addie White; St. Francis’ Anna Furr. Coaches: Assumption’s Debbie Judd, Manual’s Terri Kendall and Mercy’s Kelly Setser.