Despite strong defense, Viking field hockey loses to Cupertino

Ria Pai, Managing Editor

Palo Alto High School sophomore Sarika Lansberg prepares to clear the ball. The Paly field hockey team faced Cupertino and lost 3-0. “We were trying to give it our all — every one of us — and try to get in some shots,” sophomore Sarika Lansberg said. Photo: Margaret Li

The Palo Alto High School field hockey team struggled against the Cupertino Pioneers in a tough game Thursday at Palo Alto High School, losing 3-0. 

The Paly players faced Cupertino, an upper division team. 

“I mean obviously they [Cupertino] are an established program,” Paly coach Jenny Crane said. “They were working on advanced skills of transferring the ball back and forth.”

The game was a tight one with Cupertino continuously approaching the Viking goal, leaving Paly in a defensive position for most of the match.

Paly sophomore Hallie Faust hits the ball away from her opponent. Girls’ field hockey is a new sport at Paly, and the team has started to build up throughout the season. “They [the Vikings] started looking like they were thinking like they were a field hockey team and I see that continuing — I see them connecting the dots at this point,” Paly coach Jenny Crane said. Photo: Margaret Li

Although the Vikings put up a fight in the first half with impressive passes and steals, they were unable to capitalize on important possessions. Junior Emma Siskens, sophomore Madeline Lohse, and sophomore Sarika Lansberg played aggressively but missed some shots, leaving Palo Alto scoreless in the first half, down by one. 

“I thought we connected some passes really well today,” sophomore Alexa Gwyn said. “I can really see that our brains were anticipating where the balls are going, so we’re able to run onto them and make passes up the field.”

In the second half, the Vikings played tough defense, trying to fend off shots from Cupertino. Freshman Anna Nemerov stole the ball several times from a Cupertino opponent who was attempting to make a run for the goal. Cupertino closed, missing several shots due to Paly’s clearing. 

Throughout the game, Gwyn played vigorously, making smooth passes, lifting shots and taking charge of the field.

Girls Field Hockey is a new sport this season. During practices, the team has primarily focused on defensive skills to create a good block against the experienced opponents. The Vikings have only scored one goal this season so far, but they hope to score more in the future according to Lohse.

“Out-hustle, out-heart the other team — that’s all I can ask of them at this point, and the other things will come with time,” Crane said.

The Paly team’s next game is against Archbishop Mitty at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in San Jose.