September 22, 2016
By Rich Barton
NJS.com Staff Writer
Senior Kaitlyn Cook scored the game's first goal and Wayne Valley was off and running to a 5-2 win over NV/Demarest on Wednesday afternoon.
WAYNE – When the Passaic County Tournament surfaced in 1975 it was with great pride that Wayne Valley could lay to being the county's first-ever championship field hockey team. However, the Indians have only won two county titles in the 40 years since with the last coming in 2002. Wayne Valley head coach Katie Kraft felt if there was a team with the potential to break the long drought that this year's team was it. After a shutout loss to Ramsey on Monday, the Indians bounced back quickly with an offensive onslaught against Northern Valley/Demarest.
Catie McGrath notched a hat trick with the second of those goals coming 45 seconds into the second half to give Wayne Valley some breathing room and a 3-0 lead on the way to a 5-2 victory over Northern Valley/Demarest on Wednesday in Wayne.
“When we come out strong out of the gate we usually are able to keep up that pace for rest of the game,” said Kraft. “I thought we did a good job of using the entire field and getting a lot of corners. We didn't finish as well I would have liked for as many corners as we had, but we got enough of those opportunities that we had a few times where things clicked and we found a way to score.”
Wayne Valley kept the ball in Demarest's end of the field for almost the entire first half. That resulted in the Indians earning nine corners to zero for the Norsewomen over that span. The Indians kept knocking on the door early before finally cashing in on one of those corners. On a scramble in front of the net senior Kaitlyn Cook, who originally took the corner, was sitting on the back post and touched home a loose ball 9:27 into the game for a 1-0 lead.
|Alissa Hsueh scored one of the two goals for Northern Valley/Demarest.
Demarest only had two shots in the first half with one of them being a blistering reverse-stick shot from Braden Renke. Wayne Valley keeper Christine Hamza closed down the angle to make the save midway through the opening stanza. From there it was all Valley, thanks in large part to the speed and stick-handling abilities of McGrath and junior middie Madison Phillips. Off of another corner in the 21st minute, Phillips blasted a shot from the top of the circle that McGrath redirected into the lower left-hand corner that gave the Indians a 2-0 halftime lead.
McGrath helped the Indians keep up the pace in the second half. She intercepted a clearing attempt and came straight up the middle of the field before blasting a shot past Norsewomen goaltender Sophia Mottola less than a minute into the second half for a 3-0 lead.
“I just reacted to make sure I got a stick on the pass and went straight to goal,” said McGrath. “I wasn't thinking anything other than get a hard shot and get it in any way I could.”
Phillips followed that up eight minutes later with a scintillating run up the left side before sliding a shot inside the far post. McGrath finished the scoring for the Indians. Off of a corner, she found the back of the cage with Emily Cook getting the assist.
McGrath doubled her scoring output for the season in just one game for Wayne Valley (4-2). It was the second hat trick of her career, both of which have come against the Norsewomen.
Northern Valley/Demarest (0-6) fought hard right until the very end. Alissa Hsueh scored with 7:14 to go to avert the shutout and Braden Renke scored in the final seconds.
With a showdown looming against West Milford next week with a top-two seed and a first-round bye in the Passaic County Tournament likely at stake, the Indians know this is the time for them to hit their stride.
“There are a lot of really good teams in Passaic County, but I think the county tournament is really wide open,” said Phillips. “It's anybody's tournament to win. I think it's going to be a really interesting season and we're excited to see how far we can go.”
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