The Saltfleet Storm girls field hockey team has a lot to smile about as it blows into the Hamilton-Wentworth Interscholastic Athletic Council division one semifinals tomorrow (Thursday).
Saltfleet held first-place with an unblemished 8-0 record heading into its last regular season game against the Sherwood Saints on Tuesday at Sackville Hill Memorial Park. Results of the game were unavailable at press deadline.
“It’s very surprising,” Storm coach Kristina Alderdice said of the team’s status. “We are not a traditional ‘field hockey’ school, but we are finding success with strong athletes who are picking up the sport very well.”
Saltfleet beat the Westmount Wildcats 3-2 last Thursday at Sackville to clinch its eighth victory of the season. The Storm has outscored its opponents 30-5 this year on the field.
Alderdice said the team’s success can be attributed to a fun-first mentality.
“We have a bunch of girls who are strong athletes, new to this unique sport and having fun with it. The girls are not feeling pressured and their expectations are not as high,” she said. “The social aspect is huge with this team. You can hear the girls before the game starts, and at halftime, laughing and talking, often not about the game. They are enjoying being together and having fun.”
Saltfleet earned a spot in the semifinal last season.
The Storm battled it out with the Saints and forced the game into overtime.
“We lost in penalty flicks,” Alderdice said. “It was a heartbreaker.”
Alderdice said the team’s game plan for the playoffs will be the same one it has had all season.
“I think we have found success this year by having fun and working hard – the same would apply to playoffs – don’t fix what’s not broken,” she said. “I think any team has the ability to be successful and go to the championship in our division. The deciding factor will be who will show up that day.”
The HWIAC girls field hockey division one semifinals will take place tomorrow (Thursday).
For the schedule and scores, visit www.hwdsb.on.ca/athletics.