Erika Eckrod showed the McLean field hockey team can score quickly.
Christin Geisler showed the Highlanders can score often.
Together, the senior forwards helped set the tone for what head coach Summer Vanni hopes could be a state-tournament-caliber squad.
Eckrod scored 20 seconds into McLean’s season opener against Yorktown and Geisler tied a school record with five goals as the Highlanders secured a 7-1 mercy-rule victory over the Patriots on Aug. 28 in Arlington.
Geisler scored three goals in the first half as McLean built a 5-1 halftime lead. She converted a stroke early in the second half and ended the game via mercy rule with her fifth goal at the 5:03 mark. The game ends if a team is ahead by six goals at the midway point of the second half.
Geisler’s five goals tied a school record set last season by Sofia Andreoli.
“The ball was in the offensive half the whole game,” Geisler said, “and that just opened up tons of opportunities for me to score [and] for Erika to score.”
Eckrod came out aggressive, swiping the ball from Yorktown and scoring the game’s first goal just 20 seconds into the contest. She added a second goal in the first half.
“The ball was in the offensive half the whole game and that just opened up tons of opportunities for me to score [and] for Erika to score.”
--- McLean senior Christin Geisler
“Our last [scrimmage], I was having trouble recovering and my first goal was to be better at attacking the ball,” Eckrod said. “I just saw the opening to the ball and took it right away.”
McLean led 3-0 when Yorktown’s Melissa Land scored with 19:28 remaining in the first half, cutting the Highlanders’ lead to two. Geisler answered with her third goal with 12:18 left in the half, and Eckrod scored nearly six minutes later.
“As two forwards, their expectations are obviously to score, but they’re also captains, as well, so their leadership skills are really important,” Vanni said. “Both girls offer speed, as well as strength and athleticism to [make] plays that not a lot of my athletes can do naturally. They’re impressive. They’ve worked hard over the last couple seasons and now it’s their time in the spotlight.”
McLean will travel to face Centreville at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The Highlanders will play three games in Virginia Beach this weekend before hosting Fairfax at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
“We’ve got a serious group, which I don’t always have,” Vanni said. “They can be goofy, but they’ve got a really good mentality to win a lot this year, so that’s the plan.
“… I’m not going to jinx us, but the sky is the limit with this team. We’re going down to Virginia Beach [this] weekend to play three games, and I hope to be down there in November for the state tournament.”