Wolverines score CIF runner-up title

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Westview: 1, Mission Hills: 2

Nov. 18, the Wolverines Field Hockey team played a close game in the CIF finals against the Mission Hills Grizzlies, finishing the score with a 1-2 loss.

During the first half, the teams were at an even match, the ball going back and forth with steals and fouls, with three goals occuring in those first 30 minutes.

The first goal was scored at 21:15, when a short corner was called against the Wolverines, allowing for a Mission Hills player to stand on the goal line with the ball 10 yards to the right of the goal. Short corners are awarded to an offensive team when a foul is called against the defense inside the shooting circle. After a quick pass, Mission Hills’s Eliza Rosas tapped the ball in for a clean goal. While the Grizzlies celebrated in the field, the Wolverines jogged toward the sidelines for a timeout. The players breathed heavily as coach Jackie Legrand gave advice on improving the offensive setup and ensured the team that it was still anyone’s game.

“One goal is not a big deal,” she said. “Get back in there and play like you did [during the semifinals].”

Intense playing ensued until there were 9 minutes remaining in the first half, when a short corner was called to the Wolverine’s advantage. After a few back and forth passes, Lolly Stapley (12) shot the ball straight into the goal, bringing the score to a tied 1-1.

With eight minutes left, another short corner was called to Westview’s advantage. After the team set up, Ellie Cavendish (11) shot a quick pass to Sealani McCall (12), who transferred it to Sara Stone (10) as Stone rushed toward the goal. Stone’s possession of the ball led the crowd to stand, jump and roar as she shot the ball straight past the goalie and into the goal.

But, the Mission Hills coach stormed the field because of an issue during the play. The ball had come in contact with a player’s foot during the play, deeming the goal illegitimate. The roaring crowd grew quiet as they watched the scoreboard change from 2-1 back to  1-1.

The game continued with counter-attack after counter-attack, until the half was almost over. Mission Hills recovered the ball and shot it just as the buzzer went off. The ball bounced past the Wolverines’ goalie to give the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead going into halftime.

After halftime, the intensity of the game escalated as the score remained stagnant. With 10 minutes left in the game, Cavendish was ejected for two minutes after not maintaining a five-yard gap between herself and a Mission Hills player after a foul was called on her. The Wolverines adjusted quickly to playing with one less athlete on the field. Westview’s offensive strategy utilized four players on the forward line, which allowed them to simply shift the offense and retain a strong defense.

But regardless of the adjustment, playing with one less player left the Wolverines at a disadvantage. The teams continued to switch possessions of the ball without any goals being scored while Cavendish was off of the field.

Once there were two minutes left in the game, the Wolverines jogged to the sideline for another time out, this time breathing even more heavily.

Most of the words of encouragement came from the players themselves this time. Alana Palomino (12), a team captain, reminded the team that this was their last game of the season, everything they’ve worked toward.

“These are the last two minutes that we’ll ever play together,” she said. “Give it your all.”

The Wolverines did give it their all. But, so did the Mission Hills Grizzlies. Westview came close to tying the game with 30 seconds remaining, after one last shot on a short corner. But, with a near miss on the goal, the Wolverines left the game as Division II runner-ups.