HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY

Oct. 22, 2007

No rain, no gain: Sacred Heart, KCD overcome

By NATHAN CHAMBERS
BeyondTheDerby.com

Ballard coach Kelly Logsdon smiled knowingly as she came to a conclusion about the sopping-wet Trager Stadium turf after Sacred Heart’s 3-0 victory over the Bruins in the rain-soaked state semifinals on Monday.

“I don’t think it really changed the game,” she said.

The defending state champion Valkyries were just that good in their 53rd consecutive win, a streak spanning two seasons.

“They’re a great team,” said Logsdon, herself a former Sacred Heart player. “I’d be very surprised if they don’t run the table.”

Once again, only Kentucky Country Day stands in their way. The Bearcats scored twice in the second half to upend Collegiate 2-1 and advance to a state final showdown with Sacred Heart for the third time in four years.

Sacred Heart (25-0) and KCD (21-6) will meet for the 50th time overall in the sport’s history at Trager Stadium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I know what we’re up against,” said KCD coach Amy Charasika, whose team lost to the Valkyries 3-1 both in the 2006 final and on Aug. 21. “But I believe in this team. Our girls will come to play.”

The game will hold additional significance for both sides. Sacred Heart’s senior class is on the verge of an unbeaten four-year run through the freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels, while KCD is pursuing a single-season team-record 22nd win and its 500th win all-time.

“We thought all season that we’d be here,” Sacred Heart senior Whitney Ising said. “It feels different now that we finally are here. It’s amazing.”

KCD-Collegiate

That the Bearcats came back from a 1-0 halftime deficit made for an unusual second half for them this season.

Look no further than KCD’s previous two games. The Bearcats lost a 3-0 lead to Ballard in the last 30-plus minutes of the District 1 final last Wednesday before winning 4-3 in overtime. Then, in the state quarterfinals on Saturday, the Bearcats scored twice in the first half but had to hold off Christian Academy for a 2-1 win.

“I think the kids understood the urgency tonight,” Charasika said. “I’m extremely proud of them.”

Collegiate (19-8) had taken a 1-0 lead on the only shot that reached KCD junior goalie Sarah Anderson and came off one of the only penalty corners that KCD senior Christena Burell did not disrupt on the fly. Senior Anouk Westerveld took the insertion pass from senior Caroline Goldstein and slapped the ball into the cage with 16:52 left in an evenly-played half.

But the Bearcats struck quickly after the break to tie it with 26:44 to go. Flowers, who had sat out the entire second half of Saturday’s game with enflamed shin splints in her left leg, hit the ball toward the cage. Freshman Sarah Vissing then put her stick on it and swept it over the goal line from her spot off the post.

“They got a little momentum going in the second half,” Collegiate coach Wendy Martin said.

The Bearcats, who accumulated a 7-2 advantage in corners and a 4-0 advantage in shots on goal in the half, finally moved ahead on a controversial goal with 7:40 left. When senior Gray Robinson hit the ball from outside the circle, junior goalie Cece Lindsey let it go into the cage. It was ruled a goal, and KCD freshman Paige Henry said after the game that her stick had touched the ball along the way.

Henry, the younger sister of former KCD star Mary Henry, was credited with her 15th goal - which made a pair of freshmen accountable for the team’s most important goals of the season to date.

“Often when you have young players like them, they don’t get a lot of time on the field,” Charasika said. “But Sarah and Paige have played since the beginning, and they’ve risen to the challenge.”

The Bearcats still face one more challenge - the Valkyries - to win a state title. Different players did it once before, in 2004, under a different coach.

“If we play our game - not their game - then we can do it,” KCD senior Maggie Flowers said.

The Amazons will lose 10 seniors to graduation but have a standout sophomore that includes Taylor Hodge, whose 27 goals rank second in Kentucky.

“Yeah, we’ll be back, but we wanted to do it now for our seniors,” Martin said. “I’m so proud of these kids. They’ve come a long way.”

Sacred Heart-Ballard

The Valkyries, who edged Ballard 1-0 on a second-half goal in the Apple Tournament final on Aug. 18, proved that their more recent 4-1 win over the Bruins was no accident.

Sacred Heart earned 11 corners and fired 17 shots on goal while limiting Ballard (17-7) to one of each, prompting Logsdon to say that the Valkyries “dominated for 58 minutes.”

“They outplayed us,” she said. “It’s as simple as that.”

The Valkyries bombarded Ballard junior goalie Lara Williams (13 saves) with nine shots before scoring with 1:44 left in the first half. Olivia Miller made a lunging sweep of her stick to keep the ball in play to the left of the cage and managed to get it to Ising, who tapped it into the lower left corner for her 16th goal.

“Lara Williams played awesome,” Logsdon said. “I mean, how many can she stop?”

It was almost the midpoint of the second half when the Valkyries scored again on a corner. Senior Hannah English passed to junior Jessica Lindner, who blasted a shot past Williams for her 26th goal with 16:10 left.

Senior Taylor Collins added further insurance when she scored her 22nd goal, redirecting a shot off Miller’s stick.

“I’m really pleased with our performance,” Sacred Heart coach Liz Lewis said. “We played well enough to win (1-0 over Assumption in overtime) on Saturday, but it wasn’t our best effort. I’m very happy with this.”

Ballard’s loss meant the end of the road for 13 seniors, including Division 1 recruits Kelsey Rothberg, Amanda Seeley, and Anna Miller.

“We had a great season,” Logsdon said. “We accomplished a lot of things. But this is a tough loss.”



KCD-Collegiate


Ballard-Sacred Heart


Ballard-Sacred Heart


Ballard-Sacred Heart