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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Underclassman talent keeps field hockey close against OPRF

Evanston freshman Bird finds the back of the net in 2-1 loss to undefeated Oak Park-River Forest
Underclassman+talent+keeps+field+hockey+close+against+OPRF
Alexis Rogers

When freshman Maggie Bird stepped into the box during a penalty corner in the third quarter, the Kits were down on energy, time and points against Oak Park-River Forest.

“We all were talking, and we had a plan before, and we just knew what we were gonna do,” says Bird. The plan for the corner, however, didn’t go as expected.

“We flubbed that corner,” says head coach Annie Lesch. Despite a hiccup, the team followed through, and all it took was a well-placed pass by senior co-captain Makayla Clark to set Bird up for her first high-school goal. “We had players follow up with their sticks on the ground and kept hungry after it.”

Bird’s goal would loft the Kits within striking distance, but Evanston couldn’t find the tying goal despite strong play in the fourth quarter, ultimately losing to the Huskies, 2-1.

The only successful penalty corner of 12 Evanston (1-1) was granted, the buzzer-beater rejuvenated the Kits, whose disconnected play in the first half prevented them from getting much going offensively. The score had remained at a standstill after 30 minutes of play, remaining 0-0 despite both teams’ best efforts. Makayla Clark’s repeated clears across the field attempted to give forwards an opportunity to take the defense by surprise, but while exciting, the forwards struggled to connect.

“We looked really spread out, not using each other,” says Lesch. “They were playing individually and hitting these big balls hoping that people were going to grab them.”

Then, less than two minutes into the second half, the Huskies (2-0) earned their first goal. The next followed eight minutes later, leaving the Kits’ prospects for the quarter bleak. Despite being down, the team connected the play with under 30 seconds left on the clock in the third quarter.

While the Kits also lost by the same margin to OPRF in the 2022-2023 season (0-1), this time they didn’t leave empty-handed. Their goal, as well as a high-energy fourth quarter, rewarded the team for their hard work.

“The fourth quarter was our best quarter,” says Lesch. “I’m pleased with that, but I just didn’t feel like we played our game. We gotta learn that these games aren’t just gonna get handed to us. We need to fight for them and work for them and do the things that we do best.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, the team heads to Stevenson for its third game of the season. With field hockey still being a relatively new sport, some matchups haven’t been tested yet.

“We’ve never played Stevenson before, so I really don’t know what to expect,” says Lesch. “Every game is big, but I’m hoping that it’s a game that we can control the whole thing.”

The team remains hopeful heading into the rest of the season, with a dependable set of seniors and promising young players like Bird, fellow freshman Olive Lassman and sophomore Sasha Hammond stepping up to perform.

“I think the game went really well,” sums up Bird. “Overall, I think that we need to work on stuff, but it’s only our second game. We still have way more ahead of us.”

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Alexis Rogers, Sports Feature Editor
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