The Madison High girls’ field hockey team had a pretty solid 2007 season considering how young the team was. The Warhawks, who had lost 11 seniors to graduation from the season before, finished fourth in the Liberty District standings and qualified for the 16-team Northern Region playoffs where their season ended with a first round loss to Chantilly.
Madison is hoping for even better success this season with a more seasoned squad.
"Last year, we were very young," said Madison coach Meghan Punaro.
<b>MADISON</b> opened this year’s season at the two-day Westfield Tournament where it split four games. The Warhawks, in first day action, lost games to Robinson and Chantilly. But they came back strong on the second day with wins over both Edison and West Springfield.
"What we took away from that tournament was the ability to play four games in two days and be able to improve tremendously each game," said Punaro, in her second season at the helm of the program.
Over the last couple of weeks, Madison lost on the road at Fairfax High, 3-1, on Sept. 2, fell at home by the same score to cross-town rival Oakton, on Sept. 4, and defeated host Hayfield, 1-0, on Sept. 10.
Coach Punaro said her team played much better in the loss to Oakton then it had in its previous setback to Fairfax.
"The Oakton game was a well played game of hockey," she said. "We took [lessons] from our loss to Fairfax. Against Oakton we were going to the ball, staying low and using passing to our advantage. Fairfax [on the other hand] was beating us to 50-50 balls. Against Oakton, we improved on that."
For Madison, it was sweet to get back into the win column with the victory over Hayfield last week. The Warhawks generated numerous scoring chances against the Hawks. The game’s only goal came from junior midfielder Taylor Claybrook, who scored off a corner chance at about 12 minutes into the second half of play.
"She really does a great job," said Punaro, of the opportunistic Claybrook. "She sees the field and is a very good passer. She’s a good asset to the team."
<b>PUNARO</b> said her squad had chances to score on several other occasions against Hayfield.
"We had tons of opportunities in the circle that we couldn’t put in," she said. "The good thing is we created the opportunities. This year, I think we have a lot of potential. We’re trying to learn from each game."
Madison’s team co-captains this season are goalie Bri Gillis and Becky Walrazen.
Madison was scheduled to play its Liberty District opener on Wednesday of this week at Langley.