Sacred Heart Greenwich scored early and often through its first four games of the season and on the rare occasion field hockey foes have possession, they haven’t been able to light the scoreboard.
Indeed, the situation couldn’t be better for the two-time defending FAA Tournament champion Tigers, heading into Wednesday’s home game against league opponent King School.
The Tigers, who were 4-0 going into Wednesday’s game against King had outscored the opposition, 30-1, so far this season, posting three shutouts along the way. From the goalie to the forward line, Sacred Heart has imposed its will on its opponents at each position.
“We’ve started off really strong,” said Sacred Heart defensive midfielder Morgan Smith, a co-captain. “It’s always good to start off the season with a couple of wins, especially with some tough games coming up.”
The season began with a 7-0 win against School of the Holy Child, then the Tigers topped Taft, 7-0. Kent was blanked by Sacred Heart, 8-0 and Hopkins School suffered an 8-1 loss to the Tigers.
Senior co-captain Sydney Gallop, who has helped lead Sacred Heart’s effective defensive play, appreciates the teamwork and chemistry she’s seen from the squad.
“We have been passing to each other a lot, we know we have to use each other to be able to keep it out of our half and out of our circle,” Gallop said.
Olivia Caponiti is the Tigers’ freshman goalie, but she’s experienced. She started in goal for last season’s championship squad.
“From the defensive side, any time the ball is in our circle, we try to avoid feet and avoid corners, because those are usually good goal opportunities for opposing teams,” Gallop said.
Senior midfielder Beth Yeager has powered the Tigers offensively, following a standout junior season. Yeager has registered 13 goals through four games, including four in the team’s win against Taft.
“Beth is a true leader on and off the field,” SHG coach Alex Gheorghe said. “She is a playmaker, scoring three or four goals a game. She accelerates the game for us.”
Junior Hanke Govaert has sparked the Tigers in her first year on the squad. She recorded a hat trick in the season-opener against Holy Child. Senior Katie Keller, freshman Delfina Gonzalez Lobo, sophomore Caroline Nemec and freshman Genevieve Caruso have also aided the Tigers’ offensive attack.
“The younger players on our team have been great, they’re not nervous at all,” said Gallop, who along with junior MaryGrace Farrell and Smith have paced the squad defensively.
One of the areas Sacred Heart has particularly excelled at the past several seasons is converting on penalty corners.
“The corners are working really well,” Gallop said. “We just try to keep it simple and don’t over complicate things and we have a lot of versatile players, who can take shots from the top of the circles, but can also feed it in for the tip.”
Recently, the Tigers competed in the Max Field Hockey High School Invitational in Pennsylvania — an event featuring premier teams in the region.
“It was super fun to play teams at that high of a level,” Smith said. “It was a really cool experience to be invited to something that special.”
Added Gheorghe: “We faced some really strong teams and it gave us a chance to see our weaknesses as well, so it really helped us.”
Sacred Heart will face formidable teams in the coming weeks. They play Milton Academy at Trinity College on Saturday, before travelling to Hotchkiss School for a showdown against the Bearcats on Oct. 12. The Tigers will visit neighborhood rival Greenwich Academy on Oct. 19 in a rematch of last season’s FAA Tournament final, which Sacred Heart won in overtime.
“It’s always fun to play GA, we have some good competition coming up and we’re looking forward to it,” Smith said.
“We’re focusing on each game and hopefully we can make it far in the postseason and advance in New Englands,” Gheorghe said.