By Meagan Pruitt
Field hockey made North Cross history on Oct. 7, when they won 4-2 against Foxcroft in the state semifinals, making them the first Raider field hockey team to make it to state finals.
However, the Fredericksburg Falcons, No. 2 in the state, redeemed an earlier loss at home to the Raiders by defeating the No. 1 team 3-1 at the finals. All of the goals were scored off corners.
“I think the hardest part about playing offense is making the right decision in the circle,” Lawrence said, “and always getting back on defense, because every player has to play defense in field hockey.”
The starting sophomores, Shaida Campbell (left forward), Margaret Lawrence (center mid) and Morgan Sturm (left mid), form a pact that inevitably results in many of the field hockey goals.
Passing to Avery Sturm ('15) on her right or Morgan Sturm on her left, Lawrence acts as the distributor in the middle that allows the ball to transition smoothly from one side of the field to the other. A quick push pass (ball pushed on the ground) or a lift (ball flicked high enough to get across blocking sticks on the ground, but not above players' hips) are sure to complete the transfer.
Once on the sidelines, either the Sturms or a defensive midfielder can carry the ball toward the opposing goal. If everything goes smoothly, it can be passed back to the midis or forwards. The forwards dribble (run with the ball) to the corners of the field, and drive (hit) it to the receiving mids in the circle, who hopefully deflect it into the goal.
Of course, this is based on the theory that each pass is made and the opposing defenders do not intercept or block the transfers.
Within the circle surrounding the goal, if an obstruction occurs (most often this includes hacking (hitting the other player's stick while not in possession of the ball) or touching the ball with one's foot) then a corner commences. However, this isn't like soccer. The ball is not kicked (in this case hit) in from the corners of the field. Logically that would be assumed based on the name, but that is called a long hit in field hockey.
No, corners in field hockey occur within the goal circle. Four defenders stand in ready position in the goal, along with the goalie. Each takes the role of fly, trail or post. Fly accelerates out of the goal once the ball is hit, and attempts to block the play by rushing at the receiver. Most often than not, the fly is actually there to put pressure on the receiver than actually take the ball away. The trail hangs behind the fly to block the ball if not blocked by her. If the receivers make an intricate play or if the ball simply gets pass the fly and trail, two posts stand on either side of the goal to act as mini goalies. The rest of the team hangs behind the 50-yard line, and has to rush towards the goal to help once the ball is hit.
On the offensive side, every player except two or three participates in attacking the goal. One player push passes or drives the ball to a player positioned at the top of the circle. Depending on the play set up, the receiver either drives it or passes it to another player. This is the most common way to score, as seen in the state champion game.
In state finals, juniors, Colleen Norair scored and Carolyn Topps assisted on, all three goals for Fredericksburg Academy off the same corner play. Topps push-passed the ball to Norair, who drove the ball into the back of the goal.
Morgan Sturm assisted on Avery Sturm's lone goal in the exact same way. Both defenses were tough enough to allow only goals off of these set plays.
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