September 26th, 2020

Hill's goal powers Sacred Heart past Rockets

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Hill's goal powers Sacred Heart past Rockets
Sacred Heart defeated Assumption 1-0 to win Mug Game (photo by Eric Thorne)

Seize the moment and do not be afraid to shoot.

Sacred Heart’s Riley Hill did just that driving home the only goal of the game as the visiting Valkyries knocked off Assumption 1-0 in the annual field hockey Mug Game on Saturday at Assumption Green.

The teams had few scoring opportunities for much of the game, but Sacred Heart (7-2) stepped up the pressure to start the final quarter and after four straight corner opportunities Hill took a rebound off the inserted pass and drilled one past keeper Anna Allgeier with 8:31 left.

For Hill it was just her second goal of the season and varsity career. She had one assist last year and has one this season.

“It was super exciting to score that goal because right before I went in Coach (Eleanor) Mitchell said ‘Riley don’t be afraid to shoot’ and so the rebound came off and nobody was around me so I took it,” Hill said. “The ball came off the rebound and when I looked up the corner was open, so I kept my head down and got the angle right.”

Hill had been subbing in and out throughout the game but entered just a minute prior to her goal.

“Really happy for Riley she just went in did exactly what she had to do and I had told her just don’t be afraid to shoot because she has a great shot and we needed someone that wasn’t scared to shoot it,” Mitchell said. “No body was doing it tonight getting that good shot, so we said let’s try Riley and she did it.”

Assumption (5-5)  tried to take advantage of some sloppy play to start the game but could not get anything past keeper Haley Kruse.

Sacred Heart came to life in the second quarter but also could not find the back of the cage as Allgeier fought off several Rocket shots.

“These games are so much fun,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “We didn’t’ have a good first half with sloppy play but the girls stuck with it and fought hard. Assumption really did beat us to the 50/50 balls all night, but we kept pounding and luckily had one go in.”

Mitchell told her team at the half that the effort was lacking.

“First half was pretty scary, but our defense showed up and Haley had good saves and the defense picked it up off the pads miraculously we didn’t let one get by,” Michell said.

Kruse agreed watching her team struggle at time.

“I think first half we started a little slow but once we got our heads in the game we got on our game and produced a good win,” Kruse said. “Our team worked hard, and we’ve been playing hard. Winning the Mug is just such a good feeling especially when you score that goal and win, and I love when the team comes back and gives me stick taps makes me really feel like I’m part of the game.”

Mitchell said the late start to the season and a rush to get as many games in as possible has limited practice time and the ability to iron out some issues.

“We’ve only practiced once in the past two weeks I think and have squeezed in game after game and finally we are entering a part where we can get some practice time in,” Mitchell said. “It’s crazy trying to make adjustments in game instead of practices.”

Assumption coach Jody Schaefer agreed the limited practice time and lack of upperclassmen due to graduation has hampered her team.

“We don’t have a lot of subs right now and three seniors of which two are starting plus starting freshmen and sophomores,” Schaefer said. “We’re very talented but what’s hurt us going from preseason to six hours a week is we didn’t get to get fit like we typically do, and we wear down.”

Ultimately though for the Rockets it is to defend their state title crown.

“We’re looking for the end game for sure,” Schaefer said. “The first half was good hockey and we’re improving. These games are like practice for us and do not mean much other than fixing things. People remember who wins in the end not the Mug game.”

But for Hill and Kruse the win is special.

“This means a lot because it’s a rivalry game and my last season because I’m not going to keep playing after this year,” Hill said. “You have to enjoy the memories and not take anything for granted so put everything out there on the field.”

Kruse, a junior, has only allowed three goals on the season. She knew Assumption had one final attack wave coming at her in the closing minutes.

“It just wants me to go even harder at them and tell them you can’t come in this circle,” Kruse said, “It’s my turf and you aren’t getting in there.”



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