The Mount Vernon field hockey team won its third National District title in four years with a 2-0 victory against Yorktown on Oct. 22 at MVHS.
Photo by Louise Krafft.
Monday marked the fourth consecutive season the Mount Vernon field hockey team appeared in the National District championship game. Thanks to a pair of goals by senior Gabby Ocker, the Majors made it three district titles in four years with a 2-0 victory against Yorktown.
While the victory was sweet, it was the following evening that carried more importance to Ocker.
The Mount Vernon field hockey team had not won a regional tournament game since 2007, the year prior to the arrival of head coach Jessica Edwards, who was named 2012 National District Coach of the Year. The district championship game had been pushed back to Monday due to poor field conditions at MHVS, so the Majors would play a regional tournament contest the following evening.
"I almost think it’s more important than winning the district championship," Ocker said Monday about wanting to advance past the first round of regionals, "because we’ve been so close ever since I started playing."
After going undefeated in district play, the Majors finally got over the regional hump.
Mount Vernon defeated Chantilly, 1-0, on Tuesday, Oct. 23 in the first round of the Northern Region Tournament at MVHS. Lizzy Sagar scored the game-winner off an assist from Jane Heller with 12:50 remaining in the contest. The goal came off one of Mount Vernon’s 11 corners. Chantilly, the No. 4 seed from the Concorde District, finished with three corners.
"At the beginning of the season, our team goal was to dominate and that’s what we did. We dominated the district [and] we dominated this game because of all the preparation we had."
— Mount Vernon senior Gabby Ocker
The victory advanced Mount Vernon to the quarterfinals, where the Majors will face West Springfield, the Patriot District’s No. 3 seed, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. Mount Vernon enters the contest with a 16-3-1 record, but the Majors were 0-1-1 in two meetings against West Springfield (15-3-1) during the regular season. The Spartans defeated the Majors, 2-0, in the season opener for both teams on Aug. 22, and the teams played to a 1-1 tie during the Under the Lights Tournament at Lee High School on Aug. 24.
West Springfield entered the Patriot District Tournament as the top seed, but the Spartans lost to No. 4 T.C. Williams in the semifinals.
"We actually took a lot away from playing them the first time and made some adjustments which really helped us the next time we played them," Edwards wrote in an email. "… [The Spartans] always play a good, clean passing game, so I expect our girls to have to stay on their angles well, and pressure the ball, so they can't get successive passing. And we need to play a possession game and take every opportunity we earn."
In the district championship game on Oct. 22, Ocker scored a pair of goals in the first half to lead Mount Vernon to victory.
"I thought [Ocker] played really well," Edwards said after the game. "… She works her butt off at practice."
Mount Vernon is 11-0 against opponents from the National District, outscoring those teams 37-1. In 20 total games, the Majors have outscored their opponents 49-7 with 15 shutouts.
"At the beginning of the season, our team goal was to dominate and that’s what we did," Ocker said. "We dominated the district [and] we dominated this game because of all the preparation we had."