Thursday, December 5, 2013
By STEVE CRAIG/Staff Writer
It's been a common lament this season (and seasons past) among Western Class A field hockey coaches. They wish their team would play everyone.
Cape Elizabeth senior Lauren Steidl is Player of the Week.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Lauren Steidl, Cape Elizabeth senior: Scored all five goals in the Capers' 5-0 win Saturday against Wells. The victory pushed Cape Elizabeth (5-5) closer to clinching a playoff berth.
Elyse Caiazzo, Cheverus junior: Tallied a four-goal game in a 6-0 win for the Stags, who entered the week second in Western Class A with a 10-1 record.
Ellen Walker, Scarborough senior: Balanced scoring has been a key to the Red Storm's 11-0 start, but Walker had a goal against Gorham and three in a 4-0 win against Thornton Academy.
Lucy Fowler, Lake Region junior: Former Player of the Week winner had a goal and an assist in both 4-1 vs. Greely and 2-0 win against Yarmouth.
AREA TOP FIVE
3. Lake Region
"We bring it up every year to our representatives at the (Maine Principals' Association) and it doesn't go anywhere," Westbrook Coach Beth Murphy said.
A 16-game schedule instead of the current 14 games makes sense for several reasons.
Most obvious -- and most important -- is a 16-game schedule in a 17-team league means each team plays the same opponents. Murphy said Westbrook won't play Cheverus and Marshwood this year, the current No. 2 and No. 5 teams. Both would be worth monster Heal points that Westbrook won't get to earn.
A change would, hopefully, extend a short season one additional week. This year most teams' last regular-season game is Friday. If a team avoids having a makeup game in the designed off week and gets a bye in the first round, it could have up to 11 days off before its quarterfinal. Why not just add an extra week with two games?
Playing every team also helps struggling programs, insuring they play each other. "If you get more wins, it gives the girls more confidence," said Bonny Eagle Coach Caterina Riitano. Bonny Eagle missed the playoffs in 2011 and has one win this year. Noble has one win this year, matching its total from 2011. Bonny Eagle and Noble haven't played the past four years.
Why won't Western Class A get a more equitable 16-game schedule (and no coach I spoke to expects one)?
No other division in Maine has the need for a 16-game schedule. As it is, the folks in Eastern A, B and C, and Western B and C are playing home and away games and/or going out of conference to fill a 14-game schedule.
Some say there's a limited number of officials -- a debatable point.
Others say there's a feeling there isn't enough time to play two more games. Lake Region Coach Lisa Shane said she was already looking for ways to give her unbeaten Class B team a break. "The way it is now, every team has that rough three-game stretch," Shane said. "Looking at high school girls and what they're balancing, that could be a little much."
There's also a need to get the season finished early, to be sure the championship games are played on artificial turf.
In other words, field hockey has to finish so soccer and football can have the fields.
"It just stinks we can't play everybody," Murphy said. "If we could play everybody, it would be even all the way around. We kind of play our season around the soccer world."
BONNY EAGLE seemed to be flying in the right direction when it tied No. 4 Westbrook 0-0, with freshman Ashlyn Wintle making 15 saves. The Scots are 2-7-2 winning the opener against Gorham, which is 6-6, and defeating winless McAuley on Monday.
Success was short-lived after beating Gorham in the opener. The Scots lost to Portland 2-0 in the next game and suffered a series of injuries.
In the Westbrook game, captain Cassidy Merrill broke her nose and leading defender Courtney Ross injured her knee. Ross is out for the season. In the previous game, freshman Cassidy Emery played the second half with a broken thumb and is out for the season.
LAKE REGION took the top spot in Class B last Wednesday with a 1-0 win at Fryeburg as Meg Skarbinski scored. Coach Shane, who took over for Dagny Leland early in the season, said she has been emphasizing "persistence," to her team and "when they persist they tend to come out on the better end."
The Lakers still have work to do to earn the top seed. Their final two games, both in Naples, are against No. 3 York and No. 2 Fryeburg.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org