By Patrick Carson
OXFORD HILLS — Oxford Hills Field Hockey finished its 2017 season in fine fashion winning its final two games of the year by defeating arch rival Edward Little and then Hampden Academy.
In both games, the offense came alive and capitalized on precision passing, giving the Lady Vikings the optimum scoring chances they have worked hard for all season.
Jade Smedberg led the Vikings with two goals and Jessica Bickford added a goal late in the game to secure the Vikings to a 3-1 victory over the Red Eddies.
In the final game of the season, the Vikings prevailed 2-0 as Brooke Carson scored the first goal and then assisted to senior captain Shy Ellis for her first ever career goal, ending the season on an inspirational note heading into 2018.
Senior Captain Gina Colley added insight regarding the highlight of their year-end success saying, “We’re such a strong group, individually as well as together, and that’s how I want us to be remembered by. We started out strong against EL and kept going. They scored their first goal tying the game 1-1 and we answered right back with a great shot from Lauren Merrill, in which Jade Smedberg finished the play with a slap shot right past the goalies legs! From there it was like we ignited a fire, great passes, off-ball movement and amazing communication on and off the field.”
The Vikings had 17 shots on goal to the Red Eddies 10.
The Vikings continued their fire, passing and off-ball movement in their Senior Night game against Hampden Academy, who as a visiting team had a lot on the line in terms of seeding in the KVAC playoffs.
The Vikings controlled the tempo of the first half, spending 22 minutes out of a possible 30 in the offensive zone. Late in the first half, sophomore forward Brooke Carson found the back of the goal after a barrage of shots and the Vikings would take a 1-0 lead and momentum into halftime.
The second half provided much of the same, with Oxford Hills outshooting Hampden 2-1 and playing high quality defense.
With 6:02 left in the game, Oxford Hills would capitalize on a breakaway opportunity as Maggie Hartnett cleared the ball up the right sideline and Carson suddenly had a two on one breakaway opportunity with teammate Shy Ellis. Carson closed in on the right side of the goal and at the last moment, sent a pass across the goal crease to Ellis.
The senior captain, who was playing her last high school game would place the ball perfectly between the defender and goalie, scoring her first career Varsity goal, and the last goal of the season.
“To score for the first time in my last game ever was such an incredible feeling,” responded Ellis. “I could not have done it with out my team (especially Brooke Carson who had the assist) I didn’t play forward until half way through my senior year, I was always a defensive player. So being able to end like that scoring my first high school goal was just awesome.”
Head Coach Cyndi Goddard was please with her teams season long development.
“It was a great way to end a season beating a team that we had lost early to in the season, at their place and their senior night and then to come home and win our senior night,” Goddard said. “I truly believe if we would have had a different schedule we would be heading into the play-offs. This team was comprised of great athletes who just kept on working all season long and never gave up. I love their competitive edge. Shyanne Ellis scoring her first varsity goal from a great pass from Brooke Carson. What a nice way to go out.”