Girls’ field hockey shuts out Salinas

Payton Anderson and Jonathan Chen

In a shutout victory, the Palo Alto High School girls’ field hockey team (2-0) defeated the Salinas Cowboys (0-2), 6-0, Thursday in the second game of the season.

Following an irregular season last year during the pandemic, Paly’s team came into this season with an optimistic approach. Because a large portion of the team graduated last year, junior and center midfielder Kellyn Scheel said, rebuilding the team dynamic is one of the most challenging things the team will need to overcome this season.

“Last year after we lost all of our seniors, everybody was kind of nervous coming in this season,” Scheel said. “We didn’t know what energy was going to be here [on the team].” 

With Paly’s varsity team being full of newer players, Scheel said she enjoyed the team’s atmosphere and is excited to see what is to come for the coming season. 

“Practice is fun, games are fun, everybody’s just having a good time,” Scheel said. “And that’s more important than winning, but then again we’re [also] winning.”

With the ball on Salinas’ defensive half for the majority of the game, the Vikings showed a strong defensive stance. Senior and right halfback Vienna Liu remained at the center of Paly’s unbreakable backline.

“I think we had some really good passing because I know that’s one thing that we were really focusing on this game,” Liu said.

The Vikings’ communication helped them dominate in the first half, which ended with them leading 3-0.

“Our defensive communication is definitely significantly better than last game,” Liu said. 

As the game continued, the Vikings maintained a strong offense by keeping possession of the ball. Sophomore and right forward Aspen Stitt said that the Vikings’ teamwork helped them win the game. 

“We’re all just really strong with our stick skills and our passing’s just been really good, and we’ve been working really well together,” Stitt said.

The technical aspect of the game was a key factor in Paly’s victory, but Stitt also emphasizes how the team’s chemistry and work to become a closer unit has impacted their performance just as much as technical training.

“We had really strong passes and shots, and I think we worked really well together,” Stitt said. “I hope that we can continue that throughout the season.” 

According to senior and center Rue Makoski, the team has been taking time off the field to bond as a group. Makoski said she hopes the team’s off-field bonding will help them improve on the field. 

“We want to keep doing what we’re doing, but just make sure we talk more, and just become closer as a team on the field,” Makoski said.

Makoski said they plan to continue this positive outlook and energy as they work together to improve over the course of this upcoming season.

“The dynamic is very positive and very forgiving, so I think moving forward, everyone’s just going to keep that positive energy every game,” Makoski said.

The Vikings’ next match will be on Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. away at the St. Ignatius Wildcats home field.