Council Rock South knocks the rust off at Hockeyrama

NEWTOWN – Though the term Hockeyrama sounds like a car auction it really spells three twenty-five minute games of highly competitive scholastic field hockey. With young players vying for a position, wily veterans retooling for a final go, and teams searching for the requisite chemistry, the action proves anything but tame.

Council Rock South, sponsor of this year’s Hockeyrama held Aug. 29 at Walt Snyder Stadium, weathered the final tuning process quite well. The Golden Hawks hoped to improve upon last year’s 11-3 league record, good enough for a third place finish in the Suburban One League (SOL) National Division and a trip to districts where they lost a heartbreaking 2-1 opening round game in overtime to Central Bucks West.

Click HERE to view a photo gallery of Hockeyrama event hosted by CR South

Senior Katie Rafter, who serves as co-captain along with Caroline McGovern, knew hockeyrama served as a vital testing ground for the Golden Hawks. “We had played a tournament on Thursday at Upper Perk. It was the first time we played together as a team. We didn’t do too well. Yesterday, we really improved. The aim was getting all of us working together – seeing what we need to improve on, what formations we need to use. And getting a feel for what the season would be like.”

The Hawks found themselves facing a tough field that included Plymouth-Whitemarsh, Neshaminy and Holy Redeemer. They opened in fine style, downing a skilled Plymouth Whitemarsh squad by a 2-0 margin. “I was pleased with that; we won 2-0. We all came together as a team. That was much better than Thursday.”

Game two brought a familiar foe in archrival Neshaminy. The intensely fought affair proved a real learning opportunity for the younger South players. Katie’s veteran savvy provided the key insight into the game. “We lost 1-0. I think we approached it scared. We knew they were going to be really good. We didn’t play our best.”

On the positive side, the Hawks showed a never-say-die attitude. With two minutes left on the clock, they staged a spirited assault on the Neshaminy keeper that feel just short of a tying goal. “We always do this. Every year, we have one game where we don’t play well in the beginning but at the end, we give it our all. We need to do that the whole game and not the last 10 minutes. We almost scored in the last two minutes.”

The last-minute flourish carried over to the final game against Holy Redeemer. South took charge from the outset and bested the Royals, 2-0. “We had an advantage over them. We played a good game and improved from the second game against Neshaminy. We worked much better together as a team.”

From the Golden Hawks’ vantage point, Hockeyrama had served its purpose. They learned about each other and the areas they need to improve. “Our coach (Lisa Belz) was pleased because we did better than Thursday but she said we had a lot to work on. Our first two games of the season are really intense so practice is going to be hard. We need to get everything situated formation-wise.”

One aspect of the Hawks’ formation that seems quite solid is center-midfield, manned by the Hawks’ two captains. “We have two center-mids and I play the more defensive one. I hold the central spot. Caroline (McGovern) is the other center-mid but she’s more offensive so she goes up with the forwards. I hang behind her the whole time for a backward pass or if she gets beat. I’m holding the middle so they can pass me the ball and I can push it to the other side.”

Caroline’s offensive talents earned her first team All-State recognition. Last year, she set school records for most points scored with 63 and most goals recorded with 23.

Katie, meanwhile, assumes a very team-oriented defensive mindset. She accepts what is expected of her role on the field. “The mids have to have good hitting or push passes to get the ball into the circle. They need to be good at running because they play defense and offense.”

She also possesses the necessary leadership instincts. “I think I should be a real role model for all the girls, even the ones in my grade. I should always be there for them. On the field, I have to keep everyone’s head up and back everyone up. We need to stay together and stay positive.”

With their two captains leading the way, the Golden Hawks should prove a formidable foe in this year’s SOL title chase.

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