Abington Field Hockey Building to Success
Despite a 2-0 loss to Council Rock South Thursday, the team feels good about a potential postseason appearance.
HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — Even after a 2-0 loss on a dark and muddy Thursday afternoon, there's a different feeling around the Abington field hockey team this season.
As this year's Lady Ghosts walked off the field at Council Rock South High School, the seniors smiled at how far they've come since going 12-24 over the past two years.
"A game like this, even though we lost, keeps us going and playing tough," senior defender Hanna Weckel said. "That small score difference shows us that we can win and go to the playoffs. We've really improved over the last few years. Since I've been on the team, this is the best team we've had so far."
Such a belief has been the mantra. Within that 12-24 is a 7-11 record in 2010, a two-game improvement from the year before. Weckel and fellow senior defenders Dana Heller, Vika Guendelsberger and Caitlin Chapla were quiet and shy underclassmen on those teams and are now tasked with leading the resurgence.
Thursday afternoon was an early test against a deep CR South squad. The Golden Hawks led 1-0 until senior midfielder Lynda Nitka scored her second goal with two minutes left. Though Abington applied pressure, they were unable to penetrate the defense or shake goalie Patrice McFillin.
"It was a close game, and they are a very good team," Abington head coach Amanda Deering said. "We were in it. When we started to play together, pass more, we looked great ... We have a group of girls who work hard day in and day out. I'm proud of how they played. A few years ago, South scored two goals on us in six minutes."
It's too early to put the Ghosts in or out of the playoffs. They've played just four of 18 games on the schedule and are 1-2-1 overall, 0-2-1 in the Suburban One League National Conference. After opening with a 4-0 win over Cheltenham, they tied Neshaminy and were shut out by Pennsbury and CR South.
With Pennsbury and CR North looming as the league's top teams, Abington is realistically fighting for third and fourth place, which should be enough to earn one of 28 District 1 playoff berths.
The Ghosts boast a strong defense led by the senior quartet plus goalie Faith Geating.
"Those four seniors have been a stronghold of the program," Deering said. "They're very humble [players] who work together and lead by example. And Faith in goal takes control of that circle and ownership of that goal cage."
On offense, Abington hopes for production from Hanna Sjoholm, Meredith Cox and Katherine Geating, Faith's twin sister. The team also receives a lift from Max Malloy, a varsity football and lacrosse player who joined the team this fall.
"This team plays together," Heller said. "You can tell a lot about a team by how well they know each other. We're a team on and off the field and that helps us. It's a lot more exciting. It makes it a lot more fun."
The most fun for the team—beyond the nicknames, "boo" chants and game day bus sing-a-longs—would be a postseason appearance.
"That would be really amazing," Weckel said. "We talk about it every practice and every game. A few years ago, it wasn't a thought in my mind. Now it is. I really want to go and know we can."