Tuesday’s opponent is the perfect model for Lancaster.
The Golden Gales do not have the depth or experience as Granville, but the Blue Aces were right where Lancaster was not too long ago.
As has happened often this season, the Gales battled with an opponent most of the way. But three quick goals in succession in the second half allowed Granville to pull away for a 4-0 victory in a Central Ohio Field Hockey League East Division match.
“I tell the girls probably 400 times a day that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you can definitely see the changes,” Lancaster first-year coach Jordan Ingolls said. “When you are trying to build a program, even the littlest changes are usually equally important. That has shown. We did win two games and had some other games we were in. You can’t always go by the score.”
The Gales started fall practice with nine players, and they were shorthanded for the first few games. Now, they are up to 17, and the goal in 2014 is a reserve team. The Blue Aces have a reserve team, has become more competitive with many of the suburban powers and celebrated its first postseason victory in 2012.
For Ingolls, goalkeeper Abby Trivette is her only senior. She had to sit out the first half of the season under the new transfer rule, but she has the most experience and spent most of this game directing her young defenders, including Emily Matheny and Hailey Walker.
“It is a process,” Ingolls said. “We are learning to do things the right way. We are learning how to work as an 11-person unit. At the beginning of the year, we struggled to stay in our own position, and now we are trying to focus on that we have to play offense and defense.”
Despite a constant offensive onslaught from Granville, the Lancaster defense held the Blue Aces to just one goal until midway through the second half. Granville had 12 shots in each half and countless penalty corners.
The floodgates finally burst with three goals in a span of less than three minutes. It marked the Blue Aces’ best offensive output and first victory in more than a month.
“If we didn’t have the quality of young ladies that we have, these guys could have just ate each other alive by now,” Granville coach Jerry Aleshire said. “I believe only two of our losses are by more than one goal. They have done a great job of sticking with it and staying together as a group. Our eight seniors have helped us with that.”
Unfortunately, Lancaster could not break forwards Jordan Householder and Emily Pessel loose in the Blue Aces’ end of the field.
Lancaster hosts Dublin Scioto on Monday and travels to Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 9 before preparing for the postseason. Ingolls sees her team making plenty of progress.
“I had girls at the beginning of the year that didn’t even know field hockey was an invasion game,” Ingolls said. “Now, we are looking at tactics, strategy, conditioning and skill level.”