Having lost 3-1 to Lawrenceville in regular season play, the Hun School field hockey team was the hungrier squad when the schools met for a rematch in the state Prep A semis.
“I think they were looking past us,” said Hun head coach Kathy Quirk. “I think they assumed it was going to be an easy game. Our seniors knew that it could be their last game.”
Hun made things hard on the Big Red from the start of the contest, battling Lawrenceville tooth-and-nail all over the field with the teams tied 1-1 at halftime.
“From the goalie to the forward line, the girls played their hearts out,” said Quirk, who got a goal from Taylor Havard in the contest.
“[Reina] Kern had a nice game in goal; everyone put it together. We monopolized possession, we transitioned all the way to the forward line.”
Although Hun ended up falling 2-1, Quirk saw the defeat as a step forward for the program.
“I told them afterward if we had played like that every game, we would have won some of the games that we lost,” said Quirk, whose team ended the season with a 6-8 record.
“I was very proud of the team. I think it was a moral victory for them to see that they could stay with the best.”
In reflecting on the season, Quirk acknowledged that her team should have produced more victories.
“I think there were some games that were disappointing, where we didn’t show up and we were a better team than we showed,” said Quirk.
“The games against PDS [a 1-0 victory], Peddie [a 2-1 loss], and Lawrenceville showed that we could pull it together and play as a team.”
Quirk credited her senior class with holding things together for the team.
“All six of them were starters and they will be missed,” said Quirk, whose senior group included Carey Million, Taylor Havard, Olivia Albanese, Sam Heyrich, Lauren Apuzzi, and Maddie Schade.
“They have been a strong force, most of them were with the program for four years. They all contributed in their way and had a positive influence.”
Looking ahead to next year, the Raiders should be a force defensively with the return of junior Alex Kane and sophomore goalie Kern.
“Alex Kane directs the defense and Kern is a very good goalie,” said Quirk, noting that Kern recorded 15 saves in the season-ending loss to Lawrenceville.
Hun has a good foundation for the 2013 season elsewhere on the field. “We have some good players returning; girls like Bri Barrett, Julia Kampanjie, and Liz Mydlowski played well,” said Quirk.
“Julia Blake is a strong midfielder and Alex Natale came on. Francesca Bello had some big goals. Courtney Faulkner did well. Vicky Leach came into her own, she had some key goals and was one of our most improved players. Bri Cifelli broke her arm in the Steinert game, but will be back next year on the forward line.”
In Quirk’s view, the program is poised to move forward. “A key for us is that we have to come back in shape next year,” asserted Quirk.
“We need to remember how we played against teams like PDS, Peddie, and Lawrenceville. We can play with the best.”