The losing grew old and frustrating for the Burlington High School field hockey team.
“When you get in a slump, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and see that you can do it,” said three-year goalie Evelyn Schaedel, who witnessed the majority of a losing streak that stretched back to the 2009 season.
That made the Seahorses’ modest two-game winning streak at the end of 2011 all the more fulfilling. The Seahorses topped Champlain Valley in the regular-season finale, then they dropped seventh-seeded Hartford in the Division I playdowns before falling in the next round.
A breakthrough — finally.
“We started trusting each other more last year. I think that’s what ignited our spark,” Schaedel said. “We were just sick of losing.”
Of besting CVU and Hartford, Burlington coach Allyson Archacki said: “That was a big deal. That was their ‘ah-ha’ moment. We can do this. It takes one goal to win.”
Led by Schaedel, a Free Press’ All-State first-team selection, the Seahorses return half of their roster, including about five starters, in hopes of building off that late-season surge.
“We know we want to win and we know we can win. That’s important,” Schaedel said.
The defense, backed by Schaedel’s four shutouts, proved competitive in battling to six overtime contests last year, losing three and tying the others.
A boost in offensive chances and production might yield better outcomes, Archacki said.
“Those were six potential wins right there. We need to score, that’s what’s going to win us games,” Archacki said. The girls have the desire, it’s just getting them to have the confidence.”
While the offense needs a jolt, Schaedel provides a steadiness that sets the tone for the team’s approach.
“Evelyn communicates a lot as a goalie and her experiences have helped a lot,” Archacki said. “She’s very knowledgeable in directing the defense.”
Erica Lyon, who had the winning assist in the playoff triumph, keys the attack with Nicole Raub while Natalie Stockman anchors the defense with Schaedel.
The additions of Ilona Maher and Mallory should bolster depth on a BHS squad aiming to win half its games.
“I’d like to see more wins obviously, and so would they, ” Archacki said. “It’s just a matter of getting it in the cage.”