“We came out playing real hard,” said Hun first-year head coach Hallac, whose team led 2-1 at halftime against Pennington. “We didn’t hold on to the lead but it gave the girls hope and motivation.”
Last Friday against visiting Springside/Chestnut Hill Academy (Pa.), Hun came out hard again and took a 1-0 lead at intermission. This time, the Raiders built on the halftime advantage and pulled away to a 4-0 victory.
“We were really due for a win and the girls were convinced that it would come on Friday,” said Hallac, who got goals from Marleigh Nociti, Ashley Maziarz, Jess Johnson, and Tanya Clark in the triumph.
“We put it all together for 80 minutes. We were playing well from the start but at halftime I told them we were letting Springside hang around and we needed to play even better. We played a great second half and really took care of business. It was really nice to see.”
Two of the team’s veterans, senior tri-captain Olivia Braender-Carr and junior tri-captain Maziarz, have been doing well for the Raiders.
“I have tried Braender-Carr in the midfield but she makes such good runs out of the back and distributes the ball so well that I am keeping her on defense,” said Hallac of Braender-Carr, who tallied two assists in the win on Friday.
“Ashley Maziarz has come back and having her out there is a calming presence; she settles things through the back and the midfield.”
Some of the squad’s younger players are calming down on the field. “Abby Gray has been close to scoring, she is really coming along,” said Hallac of the freshman, who picked up an assist against Springside.
“Marleigh Nociti has been playing well. She is really fast and she is using her speed to her advantage. She is not just firing shots, she is combining.”
Hallac and her players were fired up to break into the win column. “It was a relief,” said Hallac, who previously served as a head coach at Weston High (Conn.).
“It is hard going into a new situation and knowing what they have done in the past and what the expectations are. The girls really needed this. They have been playing well but they needed validation in the form of a win.”
In the wake of the victory, Hallac is hoping her team can start rolling as it opens its Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) campaign this Saturday at the Blair Academy.
“I told them I would rather peak in the middle and at the end; we are heading into the meat of our schedule,” said Hallac.
“We need to work on consistency of effort and consistency of play. We need to play the ball on the ground and possess it offensively. We have talked about capitalizing on opportunities, both on mistakes by our opponents and when we get a shot. We also can’t make lapses that give the other teams chances.”