Girls’ field hockey shuts out Berkeley in quest for MCAL Championship

Bennett Vasquez

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Sophomore Haley Rothbart passes the ball up the field.

As the sun fades over Mount Tamalpais on Oct. 23, the girls’ varsity field hockey team prepared to compete in their MCAL semifinal game against Berkeley High School. The girls had faced off against Berkeley earlier in the season, winning 6-2. On Wednesday night, the team dominated Berkeley 7-0, clearing the path to an MCAL Championship game against their biggest rival, University High School, on Friday, Oct. 25.

The majority of the first half was spent without a goal from either side, but saw Redwood with the majority of possession. Junior Chloe Swildens scored with 10 minutes left in the half, breaking the seal on the flood of goals to come. Redwood proceeded to score six consecutive goals, with Swildens scoring three of them. Prior to the game, co-head coach Eline Copp made it clear to the team that, despite their past performance against Berkley, they needed to sustain the same mindset as though they were playing University.  

“We came into this week with the feeling that any team could walk away with MCALs,” Copp said.

The team played with a consistent, high-intensity offense, dominating the game and allowing only one shot on goal. However, according to senior Ellery Stocker, the team was still not satisfied when the halftime whistle sounded and the Giants led 2-0.

“I think that we realized that 2-0 was not enough to really seal the deal for the win. So we got really fired up and pulled those five goals in,” Stocker said.

The team came out of halftime with an urgency to further the goal differential, scoring within the first 30 seconds of the second half and extending their lead to 3-0. The team’s defense was a strong barrier that Berkeley found difficult to overcome, as they rarely saw the offensive side of the field. According to Copp, their shut-out is likely attributed to their specific planning for Berkeley’s offensive strategies, particularly Berkeley’s tendency to be less aggressive during set plays.

Sophomore Meghan Roy passes to open teammates in front of goal

Captain Eva Oppenheim, a four-year varsity player who leads the team in goals, was impressed with the girls’ performance. What stood out to her the most was the team’s composure during their first playoff game.

“We had great strategic play. I think a lot of times it is easy to get a little bit frantic or nervous when it is an important game like the playoffs. But we were able to connect a lot of passing, so we were able to be consistent with that from the regular season,” Oppenheim said.

However, according to Oppenheim, there is still room to improve for their championship game against University. 

“I think our execution on our corners could have been better. We will definitely need to work on that going into our game against University. We are lucky because Berkeley has a different approach defensively on corners; they don’t run out quite as far, but we need to be faster on them,” Oppenheim said.

Coaches Eline Copp and Jen Reidy are optimistic about clinching the MCAL pennant this season. They will attempt to finish the season undefeated and bring home the MCAL championship against University on Friday Oct. 25, at Marin Catholic.