Even after victories, coaches tend to nitpick on things their teams could have done better. But Christopher High field hockey coach Dani Hemeon admitted there wasn’t much—if anything—she could offer in constructive criticism after the host Cougars dominated Leigh 3-0 on Aug. 26.
“They did great,” Hemeon said. “We knew this was going to be a tough game because Leigh is always solid, but I’m very happy how the girls executed the game plan. I’m very, very happy.”
Hemeon had reason to be as Christopher had a huge time of possession advantage to the point where Leigh was limited to four shots on goal. The Cougars also drew 10 short corners to the Longhorns’ one, a testament to how often they were near Leigh’s goal.
Cloey Turiello scored two goals and assisted on the team’s third, a terrific pass to Katie Garrison, who drilled home a shot to make it 3-0 in the 52nd minute. The two were active offensively all game, swarming the Leigh goal. Christopher dominated the possession from the outset, with Turiello scoring off a short corner in the 8th minute, banging home her own rebound.
Turiello scored her second goal in the 34th minute, somehow unleashing a shot amid a scrum in front of the Leigh goal.
“Cloey is a rock star in her ability to beat players 1 on 1, 1 on 2, 1 on 3,” Hemeon said. “It’s unreal. I don’t think I’ve seen a player do the things she does in a long time.”
Garrison had a couple of near-misses before capitalizing, a reward for her hard-charging efforts. Hemeon said Garrison worked diligently to improve her game in the off-season.
“It’s good to see Katie in her sophomore year fixing the small things we wanted her to work on,” Hemeon said.
Senior midfielder Taylor Mejia was solidly spectacular as usual, using her agility, footwork and stickhandling skill to help the Cougars control the possession for long stretches at a time.
“Taylor Mejia can be on one end of the field one second and be sprinting back on defense the next. She is definitely the heart and soul of our team,” Hemeon said. “She brings everyone else’s level of play up, and I never want to sub her out because she does so much for us and I just love to watch her play. I’m sad she’s a senior. She is a superstar and an amazing person on and off the field.”
In addition to the aforementioned players, CHS rolled out a starting lineup including goalie Aesha Sandoval, Skyler Turiello, Ella Miura, Caitlynn Holt, Abby Hardie, Korina Rodeo, Miranda Tuz and Mia Katsuyoshi. Sandoval is only in her second year of playing goalie, but looks like someone who has been doing it for years.
“Aesha is back and better than ever,” Hemeon said.
CHS is in the midst of the best run in program history. The last time the Central Coast Section playoffs were contested in 2019, the Cougars reached the quarterfinals for the first time in program history. In the Covid spring season, the Cougars went 7-0, going unscored upon all season.
They’re seemingly on the doorstep of breaking through against the section’s best, and they’ll find out just how good they are in the next four games, when they play Presentation, Valley Christian, Mitty and St. Francis, in that order.
“We have a whole slew of good teams coming up and a lot of work ahead of us,” Hemeon said. “This group is a special group. We have more experience in each area of the field, and I think it shows in how we play, the passes we choose to make, when we choose to go forward, when we choose to go back. It’s a very experienced and smart group of girls that make our lives as coaches easy.”
Sports Editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]