When the Marshall High girls’ field hockey team does lose games these days – which is not often – it takes extra session play for an opponent to garner the victory.
No doubt about it, there is nothing easy about playing or defeating the Statesmen, who going into this week carried an impressive 9-2 overall record. The team’s only setbacks, both coming in overtime affairs, came against visiting teams Chantilly, 1-0, on Sept. 3, and Jefferson, 2-1, last Friday, Sept. 24.
“We are off to a great start,” said Marshall coach Christina Carroll, in her 12th year at the helm of the program. “We have several players that have been key to our success.”
One of those players is junior center midfielder Maddie O’Beirne, a team captain who has been instrumental to Marshall’s outstanding season with stellar play both on the offensive and defensive ends of the field. She is second on the Statesmen in scoring with five goals.
“Her stick skills are phenomenal and she is extremely quick,” said Carroll. “Maddie is the complete player - she can dribble, distribute, score and defend.”
Also making big contributions in the midfield is senior Emily Clark, also a team captain.
“She’s another skilled player that can distribute and is threatening on offense,” said coach Carroll.
Marshall’s top scorer is sophomore forward Emily Sexton ( 6 goals).
“She is not afraid to take it to goal or go right at a player,” said Carroll, of the aggressive Sexton.
<b>DEFENSIVELY</b>, Marshall has allowed just five goals all season. Seven of the team’s wins have been by shutout. Senior Cazzie MacDonnell, another team captain, brings a lot to the table from her defensive position on the field.
“She has proven that she can stop the ball and also carry the ball into the attacking circle,” said Carroll. “Her stick work has improved so much since last year and she's playing with more confidence and trusting herself more.”
Other standout members of Marshall’s defensive line-up include junior Annie Greenwood, senior Jenny Felter, and sophomore Maggie MacDonnell.
“They are all very consistent and have been working very well together to keep the ball away from the goal,” said Carroll, of her defensive unit. “Annie has great stick work, and is able to get out of trouble and send the ball out of our defensive end. Jenny has great footwork and she is really good at finding open players to outlet to.”
Making things even more difficult for opponents has been the stalwart play of senior goalie Chandani Rana, who has been in the net for all of the team’s shutout wins.
“She is aggressive and has great instincts,” said Carroll, of her net-minder.
Marshall’s wins this season have come over Annandale, Stuart, Chantilly, Stonewall Jackson (Manassas), Mount Vernon (twice), Oakton, Hayfield and Madison.
The losses have come to Tabb High of Yorktown, Va. at the Herndon High Tournament held Sept. 10-11, and against Jefferson last week.
Marshall was scheduled to play road contests this week on Monday, Sept. 27 versus Falls Church, and Wednesday, Feb. 29 at McLean. The team’s next home game is scheduled for next Wednesday night, Oct. 6 at 7:30 against Fairfax.