With Chiodo Helping to Spark the Forward Line, Hun Field Hockey Starts 2-0, Outscoring Foes 10-0
STRONG START: Hun School field hockey Mia Chiodo, left, goes after the ball in a game last season. Last Thursday, senior star Chiodo scored a goal to help Hun defeat Hopewell Valley 4-0. The Raiders, who improved to 2-0 with the win, play at the Princeton Day School on September 22, at the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on September 24, and at Robbinsville on September 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Mia Chiodo got things off to a good start for the Hun School field hockey team as it hosted Hopewell Valley last Thursday.
In the first minute of the contest, senior co-captain and forward Chiodo stuck her nose into a traffic jam in the circle and poked the ball into the cage to give Hun a 1-0 lead.
Chiodo acknowledged that her tally wasn’t a thing of beauty.
“It was really busy in the goal and I just snuck in there,” said Chiodo with a smile.
The goal set the tone as Hun jumped out to a 3-0 lead 12 minutes into the contest and never looked back on the way to a 4-0 victory over the Bulldogs.
“We kind of clicked, we brought together our three forwards,” said Chiodo, who was playing on a forward line along with fellow senior Logan Frith and junior Alexa Cavalli.
“We have never really played together before, we are in a rotation. The three forwards that we have starting worked really well together so that is why she puts us first.”
Chiodo was encouraged to see the Raiders improve to 2-0 as they built on their 6-0 win over Morristown Friends in the season opener on September 12.
“It was really exciting because last year we didn’t win as much,” said Chiodo.
“It is a big deal. We have got a couple of new players and we are starting to work together a lot better this year.”
After not scoring in the second and third quarter against HoVal, the Raiders dominated possession in the fourth period, generating a number of penalty corners with Abby O’Brien converting one of them for the final goal of the contest.
“We started off really strong and went down a little bit,” said Chiodo, who handles the inserts for Hun on the corners.
“The confidence kicked in there in the fourth quarter. I have inserted since I came here. It has been a big part, it is really fun with everyone.”
The fun started for the Raiders over the summer when they put in extra work preparing for the season.
“We did have little groups that would come to the turf and work together,” said Chiodo.
“We were able to connect before the season even started with the new players.”
In assessing the team’s hot start, Chiodo attributes it to making connections on and off the field.
“I think just connecting in general,” said Chiodo. “In the preseason we got to connect really well. I think just having no negativity on the team and all positivity has been a help.”
Hun head coach Tracey Arndt liked the way her team came out of the gate against HoVal.
“We have set goals for the season, we have some longer term ones and some shorter term ones,” said Arndt.
“One of them is to win the first quarter. If you can win the first quarter, you have set a precedent. Anything can happen but if you can win the first quarter, hopefully you set a tone for the game. When we play our game and not adjust to anyone else, we can really play as a team. That has
really been a goal in the first quarter — to come out with a presence.”
The trio of Chiodo, Frith, and Cavalli showed a presence with their aggressive play in the circle.
“We have a good number of forwards so we are asking them to have a really high work rate when they are in there,” said Arndt.
“Right now we have Logan and Alexa in there with Mia, trying to find the best connection. We can spread the field out, we want them to make those runs. What they are noticing is that the longer runs might not give them the ball, but it gives the ball to someone else who can score. We used to be lateral with our movements, now we are trying to stretch it out.”
Junior transfer Ana Dios has helped get things moving for the Raiders with her superb play in the midfield.
“Ana had been great for us, she scored three goals in her first game for us and had another one here,” said Arndt, who also got a goal from sophomore Phoebe Thielmann against the Bulldogs.
“She is a really good team player, she has really good skill but doesn’t have to be flashy with it. That is what we need. Ana has been a great addition to the school and the team. She just works really hard, that is all we want.”
On defense, senior O’Brien is giving Hun some great work. “Abby has been just a really great teammate for us, she has been a great leader for us,” said Arndt of O’Brien, who also stars in lacrosse and has committed to admissions process at Stevens Institute of Technology to play for its women’s lax program.
“We rely on her so much on the back, but she really has the fire to be the best she can be. That hand-eye coordination from lacrosse has really paid dividends for her.”
Senior Sammy Kandel has teamed up with O’Brien to shore up the Hun back line.
“Sammy is our only senior who has been here all four years so she has really seen the progression for us, whether it was through COVID or only winning thee games the first season,” said Arndt.
“Her vantage points and leadership has been good. She knows what we are doing. She has seen the hard work that has got us here so I think that she helps the younger ones understand it doesn’t just come without hard work. She is trusting her skills.”
Arndt likes the trust she is seeing at the offensive end. “I am happy that we are making connections and happy that we are working hard and playing our game,” said Arndt.
“Finishing was a struggle for us in the past. If you want to play attack and you want to win a game, you have to be a finisher, you have to be hungry for the goal. We are focused on 1-0, 1-0, 1-0 and not focused on winning all of September or all of our games. It may not be conceivable but we can win the quarter.”
With Hun playing at the Princeton Day School on September 22, at the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on September 24, and at Robbinsville on September 27, Arndt believes that the Raiders need to maintain a total team effort to stay on a roll.
“We have a lot of different scorers and that is really great,” said Arndt.
“As the game goes on, everybody has to be relied on to do their job. Once they can get their job done and they feel even more confident, it is going to be good. I know that this team with the hard work and connectedness can compete with anybody. Who knows what will happen. They have been working hard in the off-season, they have been doing the right things so I just want them to trust themselves. I see what they can do and I just want them to see it too.”
Chiodo, for her part, is looking to go out with a bang in her final campaign for Hun.
“I came here sophomore year, my mom knew coach Arndt,” said Chiodo.
“Junior year was really fun, I met some good people. Senior year, we came in and we want to make it the best year possible. I think we are going to go far this year.”