Field Hockey Makes Program History

Photo | Urbana Athletics  The Hawks finished their 25th season this fall with a first-ever state final appearance.

Photo | Urbana Athletics
The Hawks finished their 25th season this fall with a first-ever state final appearance.

There were many tears of disappointment in the moments immediately following the Hawks 2-1, overtime loss to Westminster in the Class 3A state final hosted by Washington College on Nov. 9.

After a scoreless first half, Urbana struck first in the second half against the now 10-time state champion and was within 10 minutes and 57 seconds of lifting the program’s first-ever state trophy. Urbana had given up only five goals in its previous 19 games and had allowed two goals in a game only once—to Montgomery County field hockey powerhouse Winston Churchill on Sept. 12.

But by the time they’d gotten on the bus for their 2.5-hour ride home, the Hawks were in better spirits, Goodwin said, and were able to appreciate and reflect on their historic campaign. Not only had Urbana, celebrating its 25th season this fall, just made its first-ever state final appearance, but Goodwin’s goal in the championship game was the Hawks’ 100th in 2019, a single-season record.

“Immediately after the game, we were all pretty upset but once we got on the bus, we all started to realize what we did had never been done before,” Goodwin said. “But this will definitely fuel us next year to make sure we get back (to states) and hold up the first-place trophy, because none of us wants to feel the way we did after that game. We’ll never forget how we felt, and we’re going to use it. Even now in the off-season, we’re going to make sure we’re improving every day.”

In helping Urbana to its scoring record, Goodwin set program single-season records for goals (28) and assists (21). Senior attacker Maddy Hillman tallied 16 goals and eight assists and junior attacker Kylie Caretti added 15 goals and nine assists. Goodwin credited the Hawks’ stingy defense—Urbana kept 15 of 20 opponents scoreless—that set the tone for their explosive offense.

Prior to the state final, junior starting goalkeeper McKenna Ladson and classmate Danielle McNerney had saved 35 of 40 shots taken against them. And the fact they only faced 40 shots, Stuart said, was a huge testament to the strength of Urbana’s entire defense unit that featured senior sweeper Riley Clipson and classmate Megan Sullivan, and juniors Ashlyn White and Ella Landon.

“Many times, our defense had shut our opponents down before they’d even crossed over the 50-yard line,” Stuart said.

“Our defense was so solid, and their ability to get the ball upfield so quickly definitely gave our attack more opportunities.”

Urbana was making its second state tournament appearance in three years this fall—and third overall—and this year was driven by their determination, Stuart said, consistency on both ends of the field, and communication. With only four seniors, the majority of this year’s state final team will be back next season, and will benefit from this year’s experience, Stuart said.

“Our biggest strength this year was our team chemistry; I’ve never been on a team that connected so well,” Goodwin said.

“When you have that with each other, it’s so much easier to play together. I think something we also had this year that we might not have had in the past was that with our strength on offense and defense, we were so well-rounded.”

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