The stakes were high for this game. For MVHS, this would be the seniors’ last game; for Saratoga HS, this was their shot at making CCS. Both teams had the incentive to give it their all, but what was supposed to be an intense game had a strange turn of events.
After a discussion with the team, the seniors ran to the bleachers as they held their parents’ hands and walked them to the other side of the field. Two lines were formed by the other team members down the center of the field. AP Economics teacher, Scott Victorine took the mic as he announced them one by one as they walked down the aisle with their family. He would introduce the player and briefly explain the player’s most memorable moment in field hockey.
“The most valuable thing [senior Serena Yoo]learned from field hockey is to not quit,” Victorine said. “Field hockey is a mental game as much as it is a physical game.”
At the end of the aisle, the JV and varsity coaches were waiting with a bouquet of flowers and a candy necklace. Wearing their personalized “We love field hockey seniors” t-shirts, the coaches stood beside the players and their families as they looked into the crowd of photographers.
After all the seniors had received their mementos, they began warming up for the last game of their high school careers.
SHS started with the ball at the start of the first period. As the offense heated up, so did MVHS’ defense. SHS had trouble getting it past mid field, and MVHS took possession with 26 minutes left in the half. Both teams’ defense kept the opposing offense at bay, but MVHS was still able to get an attempt at the goal with roughly 19 minutes left on the clock. With fouls from both sides, and MVHS missing several goal attempts, the intensity of the game rose.
At the end of the first period, both teams were tied 0-0. While the players discussed strategies, the bleachers were brimming with energy.
Throughout the second half, no goals were scored by either side as the tension rose on the field. Every shot attempt was cheered on by the audience, but each team’s score remained at 0. The ball was sent from one side of the field to the other as both teams attempted to beat the clock. Unfortunately, none of the many attempted shots throughout the game were successful. The half ended with a score of 0-0 leading to overtime. It was then that something unusual occurred. At 64:54 minutes in, the lights all shut off, enveloping the field in darkness. After a few seconds, lights began to fill the bleachers, as the audience and JV team pulled out their phones, turning on the flashlights.
“We were all really confused and didn’t know what was happening, but we decided to make the most of it,” junior Heather Migdal said. “We first freaked out and then started serenading our seniors with our theme song, Stereo Hearts, then we got them over and had a team talk reminiscing about the season and hyping up for the last two minutes of the game. It was really fun and getting really close. It was emotionally really fun. I almost started crying.”
At 8:13 p.m. the lights came back on, one at a time. The girls took to the field once again to warm up for the final minutes of the game and at 8:16 p.m. all the lights were back to full power.
Although the spectators turned on their flashlights immediately during the blackout, the team was worried as the lights went out.
“I was really glad that the people stayed because one of my major concerns for the game, [was that]I thought they would leave in the middle because field hockey isn’t extremely popular,” senior Serena Yoo said. “So when they stayed and put lights on, we felt very supported.”
The game ended in a tie 0-0 as neither team managed to score in overtime but the seniors had no regrets about their play.
“We tried our best because [Lynbrook HS] came to cheer us on,” Pereira said. “If [SHS] won this game, they would be going into CCS, but personally, we felt [LHS] deserved it more since they worked hard this season with a new coach.”
Having been on the team for the past four years, the seniors experienced different team chemistry, but this year was special.
“I feel like the team chemistry was really off the charts,” senior Madison Moore said. “We all mesh really well.
Team chemistry is not a given when it comes to sports. Some teams struggle with teamwork which takes a huge toll on their team, but the girls in field hockey felt they were like a family.
“We’re all best friends both on the field and off the field,” senior Sara Nordby said. “We joke around, we aren’t afraid to have a good time with each other and go crazy.”
Friendship in their field hockey family was important, as they strongly believed in teamwork. Not only do they manage their friendships on the field, they continue it off the field.
“Over the year, I think you just really bond together and you’ll look back and [wonder]if I didn’t do field hockey, I wouldn’t be friends with some of you guys, you know,” senior Emily Twu said.
When asked to recall their favorite memory as a part of the field hockey team, the seniors all laughed as they recalled the blackout. However, one player went back to her first year.
“When I first joined the team, I was the only one from Lawson Middle School and everyone was from Kennedy, so I didn’t really know anyone because it was a new school, but everyone started to talk to me,” senior Christina Nguyen said. “Now, I got to meet these amazing people.”
One of the three team captains, senior Estelle Yoo, found it hard to choose one memory since every season was different.
“Each year in field hockey, it’s different,” Estelle Yoo said. “It’s a different vibe and you can never relive a moment so I feel like every single year, I have memories that I’ll look back and remember and cherish.”
Leaving behind their memories on the field and getting ready to take their next step, the seniors reminisced moments with their teammates. The seniors opened up to their team as they apologized, expressed gratitude, displayed their love for the team and left advice.
“If I could redo the game and if [Kimberly] fell, I would pick her up because when she fell nobody picked her up and it’s been bothering me for a while,” Serena Yoo said. “Sorry Kimi, you’re doing well and you surpassed my expectations, you’re a very solid paper, keep it up and carry the team.”
Vowing to never forget their season together, the seniors thanked their team for an amazing time.
“We love you guys so much and for the past three years we’ve been playing with them it’s been unreal,” Nordby said. “And the connections that we’ve made and the fun that we’ve had and the laughing like crazy, in the car, and making fun of Gianna, it’s been so much fun.”
Hoping for the team’s first season without them to be successful, the seniors leave one last piece of advice for their team, as they make their final mark on the history of MVHS field hockey. The team have their own little superstitions which they believe hold true for the game.
“The yellow ball is literally cursed, never play with it, it never goes in,” Moore said.