The Mount Olive field hockey team entered the 2013 season ready to put the old Mount Olive behind them and show off what the new Marauders were capable of.
After Monday’s 1-0 victory over Morris Hills, the evolution was clear, even to someone who has only been in the United States for a month.
“I came here one month ago and even in that month this team has changed so much,” said junior Anne Werner, an exchange student from Germany who had an assist on the game’s only goal. “We play much better with each other and we are not standing where we shouldn’t be, we keep moving. Today we were amazing.”
“There really has been a change,” sophomore Keely Kovats said. “Since the beginning of this season we have shown so much improvement and so much more skill then we used to show. So it feels really good to know that we are a much better team than we were.”
To win their first game of the season Monday, the Marauders had to make a change early and head coach Sue Steindardt made sure they knew it during a timeout halfway through the first half.
“When they came over I stood there in the middle and said I just wanted to listen,” she said. “Then I said I don’t hear anyone breathing hard because you are not playing hard.”
“It is funny because we always ask the girls what more we as coaches can do for them and they said to yell at them when we do things wrong. And they made the transition.”
The transition included taking control of the ball for the majority of the remaining 15 minutes thanks to constant pressure on the Scarlet Knights attacking players; intercepting passes and corralling any dribbling Morris Hills tried to do.
But the pressure didn’t turn into a first half goal thanks to a Morris Hills defense that was able to snuff out any venture into the circle by the Marauders.
Just after halftime thought the constant pressure prevailed, earning Mount Olive a penalty corner that they would covert to get on the board three minutes after the start of the half.
After the Marauders’ initial shot was knocked down by a defender, Werner corralled the ball and found Kovats in front of the net where she tapped in the eventual game-winning goal.
“I think today solidifies the point we have been trying to make,” Steinhardt said. “We keep telling them they deserve more and have earned more and now they have reaped the benefits of their hard work. It is so frustrating to say after every game that we are getting closer, we are getting closer. Now they can say we won. So the old Mount Olive is gone.”
Morris Hills, head coach Laura Edelstein was happy with the effort her young team effort, especially on the defensive end.
“I have been saying to my team this year that we have so much potential and every game we maximize more of it,” she said. “If we just keep that going it is going to lead to wins down the road.”
“What we are really doing this year is not giving anything away, making everything hard on our opponents. We understand that they have to just keep working hard and that eventually that is going to be enough.”