Members of the Mount Vernon field hockey team scurried into position as the final 20 seconds of their Oct. 7 contest against Yorktown ticked away. The Majors, facing a one-goal deficit, had a corner opportunity and this was likely their final scoring chance.
Mount Vernon passed the ball near the top of the circle, but the team’s final shot attempt was disrupted and the contest came to a close.
Shutting down opponents on the defensive end is business as usual for Yorktown, which defeated Mount Vernon 1-0 at Greenbrier Stadium and improved its National District record to 5-0. In five district games, the Patriots have allowed one goal — against Falls Church on Sept. 28.
One of the main reasons behind Yorktown’s stingy defense is junior goalkeeper Kate Mountain, a first-year varsity player.
"It’s frustrating," Mountain said of allowing a goal. "I was hoping to have a shutout in the district."
Mountain, a defender during her freshman year, switched to goalkeeper early in her sophomore season with the junior varsity. Mountain volunteered to make the move and it’s paid off for the Patriots.
"She’s just incredibly focused and very intense," first-year varsity head coach Stephanie DuVall said. "She has absolutely exceeded my expectations this year. Coming up as a JV goalie last year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But she has been amazing for us."
Along with the speed of the game, Mountain said one of the biggest differences between JV and varsity field hockey is the quality of shot attempts she’s facing. Mountain said shots are faster-paced and elevated more often at the varsity level, compared to the usual JV groundballs.
Like her coach, Mountain brought up focus as an important factor in a goalie’s success.
"If I’m not pumped up, then I’m not on," she said. "I have to psyche myself up."
Seniors Hannah Madison and Karen Sible, juniors Rachel Brooke and Grace McDavid, and sophomore Sophie Frank are defenders for the Patriots.
Against Mount Vernon, Yorktown junior Beni Yuzawa scored the game’s lone goal in the second half, putting in a rebound.
"We just were not on it in the first half," DuVall said. "We were lazy; our girls were out of it. Even the start of the second half, it was still kind of the same thing, but we stepped it up after that. I thought the girls spread out a lot more during the second half. They were talking a lot more, they were doing [better] passes. First half, they were just trying to plow through the [Mount Vernon] girls — it was a very physical game."
Yorktown’s next test will come against Edison at 7:30 p.m. at home on Oct. 13. While defense has been pivotal to the Patriots’ success, DuVall said teamwork has also played a big role.
"They play together as a team," DuVall said. "Last year, we had a bunch of individual stars. Obviously, you can’t win like that. This team is so selfless, which is why we’re undefeated right now."