Tuesday September 24, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
EDEN SHOT — Eden’s Abby Waldorf shoots while being defended by Hamburg’s Christine Zogaib in Monday’s game. Photo by Michael Petro.
Hamburg may not be as refined of a team at this point in the fall as some of the more successful groups of recent seasons, but it is still winning field hockey games like many of those squads consistently did.
Despite graduating 11 players, the Bulldogs improved to 3 – 2 this season, with a 2 – 0 shutout on Sept. 23 to an Eden squad that had scored nine times in its last three games.
Hamburg has seven seniors on this year’s roster, but it is utilizing several freshmen and sophomores, a few of whom are playing as part of a revamped defensive corps. Last year, the Bulldogs finished 13 – 3 – 2 and were ousted in the Class A semifinals.
“We’ve got a different look to us,” said head coach Kelly Owens, who led Hamburg to sectional titles in 2010 and 2011. “Although we’ve got that senior experience, we also have that very young end, as well. So we’re trying to find our niche.”
Senior captain Sam Eberle scored her fourth goal of the season, while classmate Leah Jones added the other tally against Eden. First-year starting senior Claire Buffa recorded her first shutout, as she steps into goal for two-time All-Western New York selection Taylor Wolf. Senior Maddy Lockwood also has four goals, this season.
Owens said Hamburg is strong up the middle with three seniors, center midfielder Jill Ford, center attack Kaley Reardon and center back Katie Carr. Freshmen Kara Violanti and Jordan Stando have stepped in as outside midfielders.
“I tell the girls all the time that, as long as we’re playing our best field hockey come playoff time, we’re going to be in good shape,” Owens said. “Everyone is working hard, asking questions and looking to improve, so I can’t ask for anything else.”
Eden had not experienced much trouble with scoring, until this game. The Raiders dropped to 2 – 3, but scored three goals in each of the last three games, two of which were wins.
According to head coach Jen Carriero, while the team’s top scorers have been sophomore forwards Emily Agle and Molly Brockman, others players like senior Abby Waldorf and freshman Haley Kobie have also put the ball in the goal, at key times.
“We weren’t having a hard time scoring in our previous games, but we did today,” said Carriero, whose team finished 11 – 5 – 2 and was ousted in the Class C semifinals. “They’re really sharing. We’ve scored three times in three games and it seems like it’s been three different scorers in each game.”
The Raiders return nine starters from last season, but brought up five sophomores and a freshman, on a team of 14. Among players back are center midfielder Sarah Woods, center back Haley Brier, sweeper Nicole Greiner and defender Melissa Brockman. Returning in goal is junior Mikela Nelson.
“They have a good senses of each other and where each other are on the field and a good camaraderie,” said Carriero, who noted that Class C will again be tough, come the playoffs. “There is a good togetherness about them that will help them, as we go on.”