FIELD HOCKEY: Cougars settle for tie with York, remain in first

Maddie Peterson is everywhere on the pitch for the Christopher High field hockey team. It has been that way for four years. Peterson, even as a freshman and sophomore, had the attention of opposing players, which didn’t matter, really, because most rarely could stand their ground when they went shoulder to shoulder with Peterson on a up-field rush.
Now a senior – and captain for the second straight season – Peterson is still the focal point of a Cougars team knocking on the postseason door. The difference this year is that there is an experienced supporting cast with members that can step in and take a leading role at any time.
“We have slowly progressed. I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me, but having other players who can score, who can pass the ball and who can play defense is helpful,” Peterson said.
Peterson and four other seniors – Raquel Roberts, Ericka Velasquez, Lily Nguyen and Savannah Kramer – hungry for a taste of playoff field hockey, took the field for their final home game Wednesday.
That depth was on display as the Cougars offense – which, with the emergence of sophomore’s Sherelle Butler (seven goals) and Melanie Tanaka (four goals), as well as junior Emma Morley (three goals), has produced 28 goals on the year – peppered the York School goalie Amy Ng to the tune of 17 shots on net.
Ng, despite the Cougars constant pressure, turned aside each and every one in a 0-0 draw in Gilroy.
“We did it to ourselves today,” head coach Lia Peterson said. “We just weren’t on target with a lot of stuff.”
The Cougars, who earned 18 short-corner tries, controlled the game from wire to wire, but around the cage the ball bounced every which way except across the goal line.
“I think it was just some bad luck,” Velasquez said.
With Roberts adding, “There are a lot of holes on our field.”
It’s the Cougars (9-0-2 league) second consecutive tie, but keeps them one point ahead of second-place North Salinas (9-1-1) and pushes the fourth-year program that much closer to its first Mission Trail Athletic League championship and November hockey in the Central Coast Section.
“We got to a level where we understand, we got our heads in the game and we have clicked this year,” said Velasquez, who along with Roberts, Nguyen and Peterson have been part of the program all four years.
The only thing that didn’t click, well, Wednesday especially, is the goal scoring. And ironically, Peterson’s aforementioned tenacity actually cost her the last four minutes of the game, on Senior Day, no less, after she received the team’s second green card for not relenting the required five yards on a restart.
“Four minutes is too long,” Peterson said.
The Cougars defense was infrequently challenged, but when the time came, Kristen Mank, Gianna Brown and goalie Kyle Robinson answered the call.
CHS has three more games on the regular season slate, three games separating the team from a playoff berth.
“We have pulled it together. Our chemistry is there and we just have to keep working as a team,” Roberts said.
All three contests are on the road, starting Friday at Notre Dame-Salinas.

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