Looking ahead to a tough slate of games and a state tournament berth, Mount Pleasant senior Molly Kerrigan knew Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Appoquinimink could turn out to be critical.
“It was definitely a good game to get us ready for the tournament coming up,” Kerrigan said. “I think we played really well together. We’re connecting passes and playing hard and that proved to be successful. It was altogether a good game.”
A 3-2 overtime win against St. Georges on Oct. 9 secured the Blue Hen Flight B conference title, but Mount Pleasant coach Peter Meisel sees work ahead to get ready for upcoming games against Archmere, Wilmington Christian and Dover.
“We’re going to have three really, really tough hockey games and I’m curious to see how we respond,” Meisel said. “This is what I tell the kids: you play 15 to get one. We accomplished it. We’ve got the one. Now we just need to make sure that we’re ready and moving in the right direction and go play our hearts out come tournament time.”
Mount Pleasant has been focusing on improving its short passing game and structuring the attack.
“We were working a lot recently on really building the play up and not just playing hit-and-hope,” Meisel said. “We’ve sort of gotten sloppy and done a little bit of that recently. We were working on making sure we’re supporting each other and remembering we’ve got to help each other out.”
Sophomore Kate Walker scored two goals for the Green Knights (11-0 overall, 6-0 Flight B) by following that exact formula.
“It was just great short passes,” Walker said of her goals, pointing to assists from juniors Alyssa More and Jackie Beeson as the keys to the two plays.
“We’ve been working on not having long passes,” Walker said. “We’re trying to have quick, short passes. Someone passed it down the line and it was just set up perfectly.”
For Appoquinimink (4-5, 1-2), the success of Mount Pleasant’s short passes made for a long day. But solid play from the defense and goalie Emily Symes kept the game within reach, said coach Stefany Tiberi.
“The girls played well both ways,” Tiberi said. “… Just playing together is the name of the thing. We passed well, just couldn’t get it in the goal.”
For Mount Pleasant, teamwork is the critical element going forward.
“For a really long time, we’ve been working on not only individual skills but team skills,” More said. “So I thought this game really proved that we’re a dynamic team. Appo is a great team. They have strong defense, so being able to counter that and work together, that’s what really helped us.”
For a team that returned from last year mostly intact, that sense of teamwork has been important to build, More said.
“Most of our team is returning from last year, so that definitely helps. But I think this year, we have a different attitude,” she said. “We really just work together well, we mesh well. Every practice is a fun practice. Every game is a fun game and that is always going to make it easier.”
On a night when seniors Kerrigan, Erin Munkitrick, Ashley Parker, Tori Ryan, Kat Mousley and Ryan Taylor were honored, the win also was important from a team perspective.
“We have seniors that have been with us for four years and it’s really important to win these games just from a spiritual standpoint. It was big in that regard,” Meisel said. “… They want to win. We’ve played good hockey. … It has been a good season. We’ll see where it goes.”