TPHS field hockey strikes back

TPHS varsity field hockey (3-2) defeated Canyon Hills High School (4- 1-1) with a close final score of 2-1 at home on Sept. 15.

Although TPHS got off to a rough start 11 minutes into the first quarter having to defend their goal against a penalty corner shot for CHHS, the Falcons quickly bounced back. Not only did they defend their goal, but Hayden Roddis (12) crossed the field to take a shot on the CHHS goal, resulting in another corner shot for TPHS. Avery Austin (12) hit the ball clean into the circle for Sophie Rosenblum (12) to take a shot on goal only to be blocked by CHHS defense. Another corner was awarded to TPHS with the same unfruitful results.

The first quarter concluded with two more attempted shots on goal through corners for TPHS; CHHS successfully cleared the ball both times.

At the outset of the second quarter, both teams came out with a bang, resulting in a high ball, and a subsequent danger call for CHHS. Soon after, CHHS was able to enter the circle and very nearly scored on TPHS, which was saved by a foot foul.

TPHS was then awarded a corner shot about 11 minutes into quarter two, with Morgan Christie (10) shooting on goal — a shot that was deflected.

TPHS was soon awarded another corner shot, which resulted in a goal by Morgan Christie (10) and assisted by Rosenblum.

A corner shot was awarded to CHHS soon after but was blocked by the sterling defense of Alex Silver (12). Although the TPHS defensive line players, including Silver, gamely protected the goalbox time after time, CHHS was able to find a hole in TPHS’ defense and score by way of a corner shot.

Despite this blip, TPHS continued to make short, accurate passes to each other across the field and effectively clear the ball out of the circle.

“We played together, which was one of our goals [for the game] and I think we connected really well,” Kyla Byer (12) said.

Coming together paid off for TPHS. With 23 seconds left in quarter two, TPHS took a corner that resulted in a goal by Sydney Meltzer (11), assisted by Rosenblum and secured a 2-1 TPHS lead before halftime.

For many of the players, that second goal was a turning point in the game.

“After the first goal, we backed down a little bit and they scored right after,” Ellie Kuehnert (11) said. “After the second goal we realized we needed to keep up the energy and I think we realized that we got [this].”

Heading into the third and fourth quarters, TPHS knew that they only had to hold CHHS off — something much easier said than done against CHHS’s offensive line. Still, TPHS showed skillful technique in manipulating the ball away from the opposing side.

For Head Coach Courtney Spleen, the team’s “ability to stay composed” and “not get panicked playing under pressure” during the second half was a standout moment for her team.

Despite losing two games earlier in the week, TPHS managed to keep their heads in the game.

“It would’ve been easy to come in with a bad attitude, but the girls had a great attitude, great work ethic and great energy all around,” Spleen said.

The Falcons had three more attempts on goal in the third quarter. On the other end of the field, CHHS was able to bring the ball almost entirely up the field, despite the attempts by TPHS players to stop their progress.

Kara Dunlop (10), the goalkeeper, was able to save the day and get the ball out of the circle. With 14 seconds remaining, the crowd began to shout for the “Abby Special,” referring to a technique perfected by Abby Raysman (12) to maintain possession of the ball by dribbling close to her body in order to run down the clock.

Cheers erupted from the TPHS stands — the game was over. They had won with a final score of 2-1. TPHS lost to CHHS in the CIF finals last year, and this game was their redemption.

“[It’s] great foreshadowing of the rest of the season,” Kuehnert said. “We played together and we played hard, and that’s what we’re gonna do in the rest of the games.”

photos by Anna Opalsky/Falconer

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