Mount Vernon sophomore Allie Schray scored her team-leading ninth and 10th goals Tuesday. While Schray wasn’t on varsity last season, her performance helped put the Majors field hockey team in a position familiar to those who were: playing for the National District championship.
Schray scored twice and freshman Jane Heller added a goal as Mount Vernon defeated Edison 3-0 during the semifinal round of the district tournament at EHS. The Majors will face Washington-Lee at 7 p.m. today in a rematch of last season’s district championship game at WLHS. The Generals defeated Yorktown 3-2 in Tuesday’s other semifinal matchup.
Mount Vernon lost last year’s title game to W-L. Jess Hebel, in her second season as head coach of the Majors, said a lack of communication was the primary reason.
"I think that going into this game, that’s one of the things that we’ll really concentrate on," she said. "A lot of the times when we do have little problems it’s a lack of communication. We don’t say, ‘Hey, I’m stepping up,’ or ‘I got this’ and we run into each other."
While the Majors have struggled at times with in-game communication, Hebel said the team’s positive interaction and understanding of roles has helped it succeed. Mount Vernon’s experienced players, including first-team all-district seniors Marcy Hoath, Katie Lucas and Leia Schantz, mesh well the team’s younger athletes, including five freshmen.
"The girls are all really supportive of each other," Hebel said. "I think the seniors have really stepped up and helped [the younger athletes] know what to do. The younger girls, they absolutely stepped up to where they needed to be. … I feel like this team has a really good dynamic because I think they understand, ‘OK, I’m the oldest, but that doesn’t necessarily make me the best,’ or ‘I’m the youngest, but that doesn’t mean that I’m down at the bottom. We’re here together.’
"… I think they’ve really been working together all season."
Hoath echoed her coach’s statements.
"It’s probably the most cooperative team [I’ve been on]," the midfielder said. "You can tell on the field. We practice and we talk like we’re friends. And when you get on the field, we’re solid."
Schray, the only sophomore listed on the Mount Vernon roster, was an honorable mention all-district selection as a forward. She credits focus as a reason she leads the team with 10 goals.
"I just try to pay attention in practice when we do tipping drills," she said. "I try to get in the right angle when the ball’s coming in so I can just tap it in real fast."
Seniors Gabby Gadson, defender, and Sara Duncan, goalkeeper, earned second-team all-district accolades for the Majors.
Hoath said the Mount Vernon needs to play with "heart" tonight against Washington-Lee.
"Last year, we weren’t all there," Hoath said of the Majors’ performance in the district championship game. "We said we were going to play, we said we were going to play, and when we stepped on the field, we weren’t all there."