Field hockey at Bonita isn’t supposed to be a contact sport, but in the varsity girls’ first game of the season, six penalty cards were dealt out for rough play (ie., pushing, shoving, high-sticking, and anything else the girls could get away with).
You can hardly blame their early-season exuberance. After practicing almost non-stop from the day after July 4th, the girls were ready to cut loose in their 2012 debut, a home game against Westminster that they eventually lost 2-1.
“It was rare, it wasn’t typical,” said coach Janet Wong about the blizzard of penalty cards. “I would rather see zero cards.”
Against Newport Beach, her girls settled down somewhat, but the result was still the same. They dropped the contest 2-1.
Yet Wong liked what she saw.
“In our first game, we dominated,” Wong said, “but we couldn’t score in the circle. We did much better on Thursday; we just need to fine-tune our skills within the circle.”
Wong also attributed the narrow losses to early-season nerves. Last Saturday, her girls played their third game of the week, and looked markedly calmer and steadier.
“On Saturday, they got to let their hair down and really played their game,” Wong said.
It’s a team that will only grow closer, if for no other reason than they travel farther than any other sports team at Bonita, meaning lots of bus time and coaching conversations on road trips.
Teams in their league include Glendora, Harvard Westlake, Chaminade (West Hills) and Louisville (Woodland Hills).
Beside her team’s moxie, she also like their passing ability. “What I see is better movement of the ball on the field this year,” said Wong, now in her third year at the helm.
She also has to address some question marks. “My concern is we have a brand new goalie [Savannah Lawrence],” Wong said. “She’s never been in pads before.”
The coach is confident, however, that come league play her team will be ready and all the kinks will be worked out. Boosting that confidence is the play of her two top captains, Jenna Cartwright, a senior right winger who scored two goals on Saturday, and Katie Lazaragga, who seems to draw rave notices on whichever field she plays.
“She plays hockey the way it should be played,” Wong said. “It’s just stick-ball-stick with her. She has clean tackles and she comes out with the ball. She’s a beautiful player.”
The team also has a new slogan this year: “The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.” It replaces last season’s “Never give up, never surrender.”
Perhaps, after their bruising opening contest, in which six penalty cards were thrown, they should consider changing their motto one more time to:
“If you play your cards right, everything will be just fine!
To meet the girls up close and personal, click on the Reel People video.
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