Indian River field hockey ended the season in high spirits, adrenaline pumping to the last minute in their last game at Lake Forest Oct. 25. Lake had scored twice in the first half, and IR was eager to respond, eventually closing with a 2-1 score.
Although IR spent most of the match in defensive mode, senior Jodie Powell took advantage of the game’s few forays toward the Lake goalie. With less than five minutes left, Powell found the opening to score, assisted by sophomore Sarah Buchler.
“We always work hard down there,” said Powell. “Normally it goes to the two [players] at the top of the circle, but … either of us could get the ball. I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time.”
IR never seconded that first point, but they tore into the game with fresh vigor.
“They pushed harder, they ran as hard as they could,” said Powell. “They just wanted to put all they had on the field.”
IR goalie, junior Sarah Hickman, stood alone in a standoff against Lake – her first of the season. An opposing player earned a penalty stroke, a free shot on the goal caused when a ball that was sure to score instead hit an IR player behind the goalie.
“I was just trying to read her eyes, read her stick, feel her out, see where she was gonna go,” said Hickman, “and I guess I just did it without thinking about it. After I did, I was like, okay what just happened, and then I saw the ball … it was so nerve-wracking.”
Hickman saved the goal, and the IR team rushed forward, cheering and congratulating her, ready to play the last few minutes of their season.
Hickman saw most of the game action, making 13 saves amidst Lake’s 19 shots and 18 penalty corners. (In comparison, IR made 2 official attempts and had 6 penalty corners.) She emphasized the importance of the team communicating and covering while in that tough position.
As a goalie, Hickman tells “the girls where the ball is, just trying to help out as much as I can to direct them because I can see everything that goes on, and they can’t because they’re ‘head-on-the-ball.’ So I try to talk to them and tell them what to do. And everybody’s real great with listening and talking to each other.”
IR field hockey finished the season with a 2-13 record, and head coach Katie Holloway described the team’s growth.
“In terms of fierceness, they’re hanging in there, they’re fighting for it a whole lot more than they were last year. They’re really starting to gel a little bit more,” said Holloway.
“I think everybody has definitely improved,” said Hickman. “I think everybody wants to improve. I think everybody is listening. Even though sometimes it’s hard to come out every day, I think everybody’s working toward the same goal, try to have a winning season, try to help everybody out, trying to be their best.”
Assistant coach Jodi Stone said the girls basically had a “crash course in hockey,” for all the information the coaches threw at them in a short amount of time.
“Skill-wise, we’ve come a long way,” said Holloway. “A lot of what we’ve seen score-wise, with not having as many blowouts as last year, it’s starting to come together, so next year, we can take it up another level for them.”