OFSAA caps off Hawks' successful season
By Darren Lum
Knocking off their arch rivals is still a high point for the Red Hawks girls’ field hockey team’s season despite going winless in three competitive Ontario Federation Sports Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship tournament games last week.
A week earlier, the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (HHSS) Hawks earned their OFSAA berth with a 1-0 win over the North Hastings High School Huskies in the Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics championship final in Peterborough.
The team is looking back to the entire season as successful, which included an unbeaten Kawartha High School League season.
Co-captain and fifth year player of the field hockey program (varsity B for two years and varsity A for her last three years) Shae MacNaull said earning the all-provincial berth is a “huge achievement” and part of the team’s goal from the start of the season.
“We will always be proud of what was done this year. Winning COSSA and going to OFSAA was our goal,” she said.
Although the team opened the all-provincial tournament hosted in Peterborough from Nov. 5 to 7 with a 3-0 loss to Regiopolis-Notre Dame Panthers on Thursday at the Justin Chiu Stadium, the Hawks had their chances.
After giving up an early goal to the Panthers, the Hawks regrouped and were applying offensive pressure with strong runs down the wing, using their speed with players Jamie Little, Shae MacNaull, Kenndal Marsden and Mckenzie Henderson. They had difficulty with getting off clean shots on net. It had come close to scoring an equalizer in the second half before surrendering two successive goals late in the game. They didn’t give up, but ran out of time despite the supportive crowd in the stands made up of family, loved ones and friends, who made the drive down.
A few hours later the team played the Clarkson Chargers of Mississauga.
Emma Scheffee of the Hawks scored an early goal in the first few minutes with shot in tight, giving the red and white a 1-0 lead. Scheffee and Abby Gordon were regularly in close at the net, looking for chances.
Again, the small contingent, but vocal Hawks’ supporters applauded and cheered. However the celebration was short lived, as the Chargers scored minutes later to tie it up. After a few solid Hawks’ scoring chances that didn’t materialize into any goals, the Chargers capitalized and added another late in the game, beating first-year goalie Sonya Flatman high on the stick side. Haliburton lost 2-1. The Hawks’ netminder made several high saves to keep the deficit at one. Henderson continued to create chances with her pace down the wing, but the Chargers’ defence bent but never broke, stifling anything in close to their netminder. The Chargers went on to win the antique bronze for fourth overall.
The Hawks played their final game on Friday and narrowly lost 1-0 to the Bill Crothers Colts.
Flatman played well in all three games, subbing in for an absent starting goalie Sydney Cameron.
Notable mention for team’s sweeper Jade McCartney, who was a standout on the defensive end and in leading many offensive rushes with her speed and ball handling abilities.
A veteran of the field hockey program for four years (one with varsity B and three with varsity A) Sydney Feir concurred with her captain and enjoyed knocking off the defending COSSA champions, the Huskies, who are perennially a COSSA final opponent.
“With this season it will most definitely be memorable because of making OFSAA. But also our team win over North Hasting in the gold game of COSSA will be something I’ll remember because last year we lost to them in a very hard and [seemingly] unfair loss. So, beating them and winning COSSA just felt right this year. But all my four years of field hockey at HHSS will be remembered because of my amazing teammates and supportive coaches,” she said.