Second game of the season ends in shutout success for girls’ varsity field hockey

Devin Bosley

Drake goalie lunges down to stop a shot from Swildens.

After their hard-fought 1-0 loss to St. Ignatius on Aug. 29, the girls’ varsity field hockey team made a dramatic rebound, throttling the Drake Pirates on their Sept. 4 game with an impressive final score of 9-0. The less than ideal start to the season became a distant memory, and the Giants’ energy was enough to make the Pirates “shiver in their timbers.”

Within the first few minutes, Redwood drove the ball downfield, the team communicative and ready to strike. One after the other, two goals were scored, thus setting the trend of Redwood’s dominance over the ball. Before the end of the first half, two more attempts were made at the goal, one successful and one not. 

As the whistle blew and the game resumed, the Redwood girls didn’t hold back, resurging their energy and more than doubling their score by the game’s completion. Senior Eva Oppenheim, one of the team’s three captains, initiated four of the nine goals, three of which she scored herself. 

Drake managed some very impressive passes and saves by the goalie in the second half. However, the Giants prevailed by keenly timing their strikes, attacking the ball and passing down the field.

Because Drake does not have a junior varsity team, Redwood’s junior varsity players received the opportunity to play with its varsity team. Many of the new underclassmen contributed to the game’s final tally, including potential varsity freshman Eleanor Titcombe. This was particularly exciting for coach Jen Reidy, who spoke on the increase in younger players after the loss of graduating seniors.

“I believe we had 22 freshmen try out this year, so we have a really young team. Having said that, the skill level, the athleticism, is really phenomenal out of the gate,” Reidy said.

Junior Chloe Swildens readies herself to hit the ball, while her teammate and opponent run to meet her.

As one of the newcomers, Titcombe spoke highly of the team dynamic and collective improvement. 

“Everyone’s being really nice and offering to help show me around. Our passing to each other [and spatial awareness] is getting a lot better together,” Titcombe said.

Another member of the team, sophomore Grace Minturn, also has a positive perspective on the team’s chemistry. As this is her second year on the team, she was able to experience the dynamic shift between seasons.

“Last year we had a lot of good seniors in [that] they really brought the team together and bonded us really well,” Minturn said. “But this year, I think the seniors really stepped up.”

This is only the beginning of the season, and along with the team’s growth as a unit, coach Reidy already believes there has been drastic technical improvement. 

“St. Ignatius has one of the best teams in Northern California. We only lost 1-0 in both games, but [St. Ignatius] uses a lot of angles and switching fields. We did that today and we did a really good job,” Reidy said. “I would say harder hits, switching fields and angles were an improvement for sure over our last game.” 

Reidy believes if they continue working, the team will succeed and develop their skills to play the most beautiful field hockey they can. 

“We’ve got a really great foundation out of the gate. We’re at the beginning of our season and we just keep needing to work on the plan,” Reidy said.

Focused towards their next match, the girls’ field hockey team will face off against Lick-Wilmerding on Tuesday, Sept. 10.