Huntington Beach field hockey earns win over Newport Harbor
For too long, high school athletic facilities had gone quiet.
That silence was broken at Huntington Beach High School Friday with the sound of sticks clacking as two local field hockey teams prepared to play their first game of the year.
Taylor Rubly scored late in the third quarter, and Huntington Beach earned a 1-0 win over Newport Harbor at home.
The Oilers senior had come crashing down the right edge early and often. Rubly hit the far post with three minutes remaining in the first half, and she broke the scoreless tie when she was found near the front of the net again.
Anela Kaye challenged Newport Harbor goalkeeper Cadence Cockrell for a loose ball, freeing it up for Rubly, who shot around a Sailors defender on the goal line and scored.
“I was just relieved because I feel like we had so many opportunities, like it was bound to happen,” said Rubly, who said she made it her goal to score in the contest. “As soon as I saw it hit the back [of the cage], it was like bliss.”
The game was put together in haste, as word had only just been received that the sport would be allowed to have competitions this week. The sport’s season end date per the CIF Southern Section’s revised sports calendar, however, only allows for contests to be scheduled through Saturday.
Previously, the section canceled its fall playoffs to provide a longer window for teams to schedule games. While that has offered opportunity to some fall sports with later end dates, field hockey, for which the season-ending Tournament of Champions would have been played this weekend, can only play games this week.
On Thursday in advance of the contest, the head coaches of both teams expressed frustration with the end date for the season.
“At least a game or two is good,” Huntington Beach coach Cathy Van Doornum said. “But it would have been nice if they would have given us a little bit more of an extension so that we could at least get a few more games in.”
Players from both teams admitted that they did not think that a game was going to come this school year, but they were grateful to be able to share the field with their teammates. Cockrell, who shined in goal for the Sailors with nine saves, said she had been holding out hope for a team banquet.
“I was really excited just to play and not have to worry about the competition aspect of it as much and finish out the year with something that we’ve been looking forward to for four years,” Cockrell said.
Lindsey Blanchfield, who along with Zoe Bixby helped create opportunities from the middle of the field for Newport Harbor, said that she was proud of the team effort.
“Considering that … we’re not really in our best game shape, I think we did a great job subbing in and out, and girls that haven’t been on varsity before did a great job, too,” Blanchfield said.
Huntington Beach defender Alex Nashed proved tough for the Sailors to beat, as she was able to break up a number of opportunities before Newport Harbor could get a shot away.
Offensively, there was no doubt the Oilers were looking for Kacy Southern. Injector Lexie Payson frequently found Southern on set plays, as she possessed a screaming slapshot.
“Sticking it out from freshmen year to now with such a hard senior year, it’s so nice to be able to finish it out with at least one game and one win against a team that you want to win against,” Southern said of beating Newport Harbor.
Newport Harbor coach Amanda Boyer described the way in which her team rallied together upon learning that they would be allowed to compete in contests, but only for a matter of days.
“We’re happy to be playing, so everyone is just rallying,” Boyer said on Thursday. “I can’t believe how much we’ve done in the last day, and everyone is just jumping in to help, being extremely flexible.
“The other coaches are being really helpful if they have shared athletes. That side of it, you can just tell that everyone wants to give, especially the seniors, the opportunity to play their sports.”
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