When your team has won the state championship the last three years, you can afford a certain level of superiority — even after a close 1-0 win against an out-of-state foe.
“We sort of viewed this as an opportunity to say something about Wisconsin field hockey, and we also looked at it as practice for our match against Arrowhead on Tuesday,” said Brookfield head coach Katie Schlosser. “We enjoyed playing a game that was sort of just for fun for us. They’re a good team, and we had a chance to try out some new lineups without worrying about losing a conference game.”
OPRF’s field hockey team (7-1), which didn’t have a practice mentality going into this game, has dominated this season. Before facing the Blue Knights on Sept. 20, the Huskies outscored their opponents 20-4 in seven games and hadn’t lost a non-invitational game this season. That offensive power didn’t get a chance to display itself against a Brookfield defense that mercilessly rotated around the striking circle which stunted the Huskies’ scoring efforts.
“In the past, we have been able to carry the ball using our speed, but they were a really fast team,” said OPRF senior Meredith Revsine. “They broke us down and didn’t let us make moves on them which made us think harder about our first touches before we received the ball.”
Despite their offensive struggles, OPRF contained Brookfield star Ella Wareham throughout most of the game. Wareham was a member of Team USA’s junior Olympic field hockey team this past summer, and displayed her multifaceted skillset on both ends of the field.
“We have faced people with her speed in the past, and going into this I thought it was important for us to force her to a side and make a quick decision with the ball,” said OPRF senior Cate Szpila. “She made a lot of quick adjustments and seemed to have a plan with the ball every time she received it.”
Both teams prevented the other from capitalizing on any scoring opportunities in the first half, as there were very few shots on goal. The game remained scoreless in the second half until the 23-minute mark when Wareham took a pass from the penalty corner, wound back and fired a shot into the left corner of the goal from 20 yards out.
OPRF tried clawing back into the game, and had a few opportunities to score in the second half that they couldn’t quite finish.
“Honestly, they just put a lot of pressure on us, and we had a lot of nice opportunities in the first half,” said head coach Kristin Wirtz. “After that goal in the second half, we were on our heels, and I think we needed to play possession hockey and we weren’t making that happen today.”
OPRF will try to bounce back when it hosts an invitational on Sept. 27 (10:30 a.m.) and Sept. 28 (3 p.m.) at Lake Street Field.