The Hornets’ varsity field hockey team hosted its 16th Annual Herndon Invitational Field Hockey Tournament on Sept. 9. However, the teams would only finish three of their matches when the contest was postponed due to heavy rain and flooding earlier in the week. But not to worry as Herndon’s turf looked in excellent shape this Saturday when the eight-team pool completed the event, which began at 8 a.m.
The Tabb Tigers won the tourney while the hosting Hornets (5-4) lost their third-place match against Marshall (7-1), dropping to 2-2 in the competition to finish fourth. On a more positive note, the Hornets have won four of their last six games after starting the season at 1-2.
“We had a couple mistakes that cost us here and there but you know, it’s a team thing. We had some brilliant play at the same token,” Herndon head coach Phyllis Pearce said regarding the Hornets’ play during the tourney. “We got a workout in the backfield. We were playing in different positions because some of our players had other commitments. It took us a half to adjust to [Marshall’s] level of play—they’re very aggressive.”
Down 3-0 after one half of play, Herndon had been pushed around enough. The girls looked aggressive as its defense strengthened to deny Marshall’s attack across midfield. Hannah Boysko stopped the statesmen up the middle several times in the second half, pushing the ball to Kelly Pease and Emily Beacham down the left side of the pitch. Pease attacked the net on three occasions and took three penalty corners as well but got clogged up inside the crease. Freshman Taylor Stone continued her scoring streak with a rocket shot from 17-yards out with 23:30 left to play. With that much time left, Herndon gained momentum and seemed to have the stamina to tie it up as they trailed by just two goals.
“My strength is that I can see the field and know when we need to be there and cover. I try to do what I’ve been taught to do,” Stone said. “I’ve been coached by indoor and club teams and their coaching has helped me stay in my zone and focus.”
The Hornets controlled the tempo for the majority of the half but Marshall weaved its way through once more with 18:30 left and Statesman Erin Sexton scored her second goal of the match. Hornet goalkeeper Erin East denied 8 of the 12 shots Marshall served up to her on the day, including a few All-District type kick-saves late in the second.
"Erin East had some amazing saves with the scrambles in the back and they worked well together to get that ball out of the goal,” Pearce said. “We played last night and we played on grass and it took [our girls] a little bit of adjustment to come back on our home field.”
Time expirered and Herndon would have to settle for a respectable fourth-place finish. Pease and Boysko earned All-Tournament Player honors for Herndon as the eight coaches voted for two girls from each squad. The Hornets feel good about their improvement over the past month and look to gain even more chemistry throughout the season.
“Coach Pearce has had a lot to do with it and it will just keep getting better over time,” Stone said. “I’m really, really pleased with our team and we’re bonding really well and I love playing with them. I’m really happy with how we’ve been able to move things together.”
Herndon plays at home against Stuart at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 21.