Girls Varsity Field Hockey
Game Summaries & Headlines.
HADDONFIELD — The Haddonfield High School field hockey team remains the top dawg in Central Jersey Group 1.
The top-seeded Bulldawgs successfully defended their sectional title with a 3-1 victory over second-seeded and Colonial Conference rival Collingswood on Thursday.
“It’s a nice feeling,” Haddonfield coach Lindsay Kocher said. “They worked hard all season. We had some ups and downs, but they really started to believe in one another. Just doing the little details that we’ve been going over. They laid it out there today against a very good Collingswood team. The fans got their money's worth.”
Haddonfield (17-5-1) dominated Collingswood in corners, as the Bulldawgs collected 15 in the contest (13 in the first half) compared to the Panthers’ four. Haddonfield generated four corners came in the opening five minutes.
“I thought we had opportunities, we just couldn’t finish,” Kocher said. “They stayed with it. They kept giving it the second, the third, the fourth efforts. I told them, ‘Hey, we have to keep doing that. Eventually it will fall."
On the Haddonfield's fourth corner, Sophie Popp opened the scoring at 25-minute, 36-second mark of the first half. The corner was hit to Meghan Smart at the top of the circle before the ball eventually made its way into a scrum out front where Popp knocked it home.
“I think it just set the tone for us to know we really had the game and that we were going to win,” Popp, a junior forward, said. “We knew we had to score and get that mindset that we could actually win this game. I think we did that.”
As the scoring chances piled up for Haddonfield, Collingswood’s defense bounced back to keep the Panthers within striking distance.
Even when the Bulldawgs' Emma Feldhake made it 2-0 with 14:10 to play before halftime, the Panthers didn’t flinch.
That’s when Collingswood (18-4-1) started picking up some momentum of its own, just missing a goal on a deflection that went high. Minutes later, Morgan McConnell stole the ball inside the circle and ripped a shot to cut Haddonfield’s lead in half.
However, much like they did at the beginning of the game, the Bulldawgs quickly struck again just after intermission. Within the opening minute of the second half, Haddonfield converted another scoring opportunity off a corner when Caroline Bickel collected the insurance marker.
From that point, Haddonfield knew it could sit back a little bit and play defense, something it did well all afternoon. Despite the Panthers earning three corners in the second half, the Bulldawgs didn’t allow many strong offensive chances.
Smart and Bickel were both big parts in the defensive play, disrupting passes throughout the second half and not letting Collingswood to get into any sort of rhythm. The duo, alongside the rest of Haddonfield’s offense, kept Jackie Giordano, the Panthers' top scorer, quiet and helped goalie Megan Maynes control their end of the field.
“We really just talked it out down there,” Smart said. “Megan Maynes told us to just get it out, stay composed and move our feet. We knew that people from the 50 would get it back and just get it out.”
Daniel Spevak; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com
Haddonfield 3, Collingswood 1
Player of the game: Sophie Popp for getting the scoring going for Haddonfield early.
Play of the game: Morgan McConnell stole the ball away from the Haddonfield defense inside the circle, turned and ripped a shot that rocketed into the net. It cut Haddonfield’s lead in half with 8:04 left in the first half.
Well said: “Collingswood is a great team, and we knew if we didn’t do it early they would have as much confidence as we had and it would’ve been a much harder game.” - Caroline Bickel