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Westfield Field Hockey off to 9-0 Start

Veteran head coach Starr Karl is back in the high school game.

The Westfield High girls’ field hockey team remained unbeaten at 9-0 following a 4-3 win over host Annandale on Tuesday (Sept. 21). The Bulldogs, scheduled to play at Madison on Thursday night at 7:30, are coached by Starr Karl, one of the all-time great field hockey coaches in the Northern Region.

Karl was named the new Westfield coach last April. Prior to this season, she had not coached in the region since 2002 when she was at the helm of the Centreville High program. Although she was out of the high school game for the past eight years, Karl has run a local field hockey travel league team for many years.

The coach said she was pleased with her team’s play in the first half of the Annandale game when the Bulldogs built a 4-1 lead. But she was displeased with her team’s second half play when the Atoms outscored Westfield, 2-0.

“We let Annandale back in the game,” said Karl. “We have not put together a full 60 minutes yet.”

In the win, Westfield goals came from senior center forward Blair Duncan, senior right forward Annie Martello, sophomore center midfielder Meghan Winesett, and senior Hannah Winfrey. Senior goalie Katie Fiely, who has been exceptional this season, earned the win in net.

Coach Karl, for the most part, has been pleased with her team’s overall play this season. The Bulldogs, a senior-laden club with eight 12th graders, have won five of their nine games by shutout. She said team members have been open to her coaching and strategy concepts. She stresses precise, smart passing.

“There’s a reason for every pass,” she said. “We’re not just hitting the ball. You need to tell me why you make a [particular] pass. We’re holding [the players] accountable.”

<b>WESTFIELD</b>, at its own Invitational earlier this season, went 4-0 with the wins coming over Langley, 2-1, Washington-Lee, 5-0, South County, 3-2, and Hayfield, 5-0. Since that season-opening tournament, the locals have beaten Edison, 7-0, on Sept. 1; T.C. Williams, 3-0, on Sept. 3; Robinson Secondary, 4-0, on Sept. 7; Yorktown, 4-0, on Sept. 17; and the Atoms earlier this week. The wins over Edison, Robinson and Yorktown were home contests for the Bulldogs.

The team’s co-captains this season are Dana Vivirito (sweeper) and Duncan.

Karl applauded the outstanding support she has received from her coaching staff, made up of Sheri Masich (assistant varsity coach), Katie Broaddus (assistant varsity), Molly McManus (head JV coach) and Kendra Verbanic (assistant JV coach).

Westfield’s next home game is not until Friday, Oct. 1 when Oakton visits. The Bulldogs hope to remain unbeaten as long as possible.

“There’s always pressure when you’re winning because everyone wants to knock you off,” said Karl.

<b>Chantilly’s High’s</b> winning 2010 girls’ field hockey season continued with a 4-0 road win at cross-town rival Centreville on Monday afternoon. The Chargers, with the Concorde District win, improved to 8-3 on the season.

The victory was the third in a row for Chantilly and fourth over its last five games since the Chargers competed at the Westfield Bulldog Invitational Aug. 27-28. The wins over that spell have come over South County, 2-0, Marshall, 1-0, Washington-Lee, 2-1, Woodson, 2-1, and the Wildcats on Monday.

Chantilly, at the Westfield tourney, had gone 2-2, with the wins coming over Oakton, 1-0, and Edison, 3-0, and the losses to T.C. Williams, 2-1, and Jefferson, 3-1.