Undefeated girls’ varsity field hockey team “sticks it” to Lick-Wilmerding to win MCAL championship

Samantha Michaels

As the sun slowly set over Mt. Tamalpais on Friday, Oct. 29, the girls’ varsity field hockey team laced up their cleats and took to the field with enthusiasm, hoping to secure the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) championship against Lick-Wilmerding High School. Filled with thrilling triumphs, the team’s undefeated season all came down to this final game. The sounds of screaming parents and fellow players excited on the bench fueled the energy on the field. The girls maintained their momentum throughout the game despite the unrelenting Lick-Wilmerding players. In the end, it was the tenacity of the team that earned them a 3-0 victory and an MCAL championship. 

Prior to the game, senior co-captain and center midfielder Haley Rothbart had high hopes for her final game in a Giants’ field hockey uniform. Despite her optimism, Rothbart had a few aspirations for her team going into their most important match of the season. 

“We have really good technical skills and our backs are really good at using their sweep, which is unique and unlike other teams,” Rothbart said. “[In this game], we have to keep our mindset straight, work our way around the circle and pull the defense out because they pack the circle, which makes it hard to score.”

Exceeding Rothbart’s expectations, the Giants drew seven corners throughout the course of the game and scored off a penalty shot executed by sophomore Samantha Haan with 1:51 left in the second quarter.  

Coming out of halftime with a 2-0 lead, the Giants hoped to continue adding to their momentum from the first half. After collectively stopping a corner attempt by Lick-Wilmerding in the third quarter, the team’s chemistry was apparent and had clearly translated into their success throughout the entire season. Co-captain and senior defender Grace Minturn emphasized the unity of her team and the progression of their cooperation and cohesion.

“Our senior class was one of the classes to enter freshman year with very little prior experience or knowledge of field hockey. So, not only were we learning [to play] together, we were [also] learning the rules [of the sport],” Minturn said. “I think over the past four years that’s definitely allowed for our chemistry to be super successful on the field because we’ve kind of grown up through this sport together.”

With a series of persistent second-half defensive stops and a goal by junior forward Eleanor Titcombe in the fourth quarter to seal the deal, the Giants’ season came to an end with the MCAL championship in hand. After four seasons of defying odds, being a relatively new team in MCAL’s and creating a “competitive sisterhood,” Head Coach Jen Reidy reflects on the impact the seniors have made on the future of the program. 

“When I think about this group and the success we’ve had in such a short period of time, it’s a testament to [our hopes of] growing the program,” Reidy said. “We’re going up against Marin Catholic, University and [Saint Ignatious] who have had programs for 40 years, so it’s remarkable that we’ve had that great success.” 

Stay tuned for next season as the returning champs hope to reclaim their title with a new varsity team!