SPF field hockey dominates in semi-final game against second-seeded team Monroe


Jamie Frank

In a riveting battle against third-seeded Monroe High School, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood field hockey team pulled out a 3-1 win. A fast start for the Lady Raiders was fueled by two goals in the first quarter by junior Meagan Bourke and sophomore Olivia Stahley.
“Coming in as the lower seed we knew we would have to play our best and fight hard to come out with a win,” Bourke said, “Less than 10 minutes into the game, we drew a penalty corner and Allie Serio inserted it right to me and I hit the ball hard into the back of the net off a deflection from the goalie’s pads.”
SPF was ranked as number seven in the bracket for the state games and fans were unsure if they would end the night with a win. The team already proved they were a force to be reckoned with when early last week they upset Toms River North, the number two seed in the bracket. The past two games against Toms River and Monroe certainly showed that the girls on the SPF field hockey team are seeking revenge after losing in the state semifinals last year. 
On the sidelines Coach Allie Neidig could be heard yelling at the team to play smart hockey, encouraging them to tempt some pulls (a common tactic for field hockey players is to run towards a player and at the last minute side step and dodge a player, effectively cutting off their path and swerving the ball around opponents) around other girls on the Monroe team and to focus on accurate passing. 
“When we play smart hockey it shows on the field and has helped lead us to many victories,” Stahley said. “ I am happy I was able to score today and help lead to our overall success.”
In the second half of the game, Monroe scored, but the Lady Raiders quickly returned with a goal by junior Sophia Novello, assisted by senior midfielder Allie Serio. 
“Everyone worked well as a team and I was so happy when I was able to score and secure a win for the team,” Serio said. “I can’t wait to take on Southern in the finals and hopefully make school history for our newly established field hockey team!”
All of the girls sprinted to junior goalie Emilia Saccento as the horn blared at the end of the game, alerting the team that they had just advanced to the state finals, a first in program history. 
SPF will take on number one seeded Southern Regional High School in Stafford on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 11am and will surely be a game not to miss!