After Capturing CMC Title, Urbana Field Hockey Looking to Win More Hardware
This past weekend was a very good one for Urbana Athletics. Multiple Hawks' teams flourished, with boys soccer, girls soccer, volleyball and field hockey all winning Central Maryland Conference championships.
The final team to win a championship on Saturday was field hockey. The victory was a 1-0 decision against Linganore, which had beaten the Hawks during the regular season, and gives Urbana an 11-2 mark heading into the playoffs.
"It was like every game we play against them- intense and thrilling," Urbana's head coach AJ Stuart said. "They are our rivals and both teams in these games step up and give one hundred percent."
Indeed, the rivalry between Urbana and Linganore field hockey is one of the fiercest in the state.
The two teams routinely battle to be the top team in Frederick County, and it's about as even as it can get. In fact, Urbana and Linganore have combined to win all but one county or league championship in Frederick County since 2011, with the exception being last season. Urbana won championships in 2011, 2013 and 2016, while Linganore claimed them in 2012 and 2014.
Adding to the rivalry is the fact that the two are in the same section of the MPSSAA 3A West region, meaning the two regularly face each other in elimination games.
"All of the games have been tight and one goal games if I recall correctly," Stuart said. "As you can see, the wins rotate each year. Hopefully we will break the cycle in 2017 by winning back to back!"
Before the Hawks looks ahead to 2017 though, they still have this season to play out.
The group is led by midfielder Sam Coffey, who Stuart referred to as one of the smartest players on the field. Coffey, a two year starter, has excellent vision and is key for the team in transition. She has support in the midfield in the form of junior Quinn Wagner, who is another player capable of making an impact both on offense and defense.
Up top, the attack is based around a pair of seniors with an excellent partnership in Erin Eby and Ashley Runkles. Eby, who scored the lone goal in the CMC Championship, leads the team with 17 goals. Runkles has chipped in 11 goals and 12 assists.
In defense, it's been a group effort anchored by senior goalkeeper Madison Wagner, who has organized the players in front of her effectively all season. Junior Chandler Zink has done a good job of getting around opponents and finishing the ball, while Stuart praised senior Michaela Nelson for her ability to intercept passes. The group is rounded out by junior Sam Eliason, who provides a reliable and consistent presence for the rest of the Hawks' defense.
"Our playing style is different every game depending on our opponent. We adapt and adjust according to our opponents' style of play," Stuart said. "What I like about our style is that we utilize a mix of passing variations up and down the field, and then try to block the ball down on our attacking corner."
The team's ability to adapt and adjust will make the Hawks a difficult out in the playoffs.
Urbana opens with a home contest against Magruder. If the Hawks get past Magruder, there's a good chance they'll face Linganore in the section final next week.
With so much at stake coming up, Stuart and the Hawks are doing their best to have a simple approach to everything.
"In the postseason we are looking at each game one at a time, however our goal each year is to win a state championship," Stuart said.
|October 25th, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|