Doing it for the doughnuts
Hurricanes shut out Braves
Playing with a roster comprised primarily with underclassmen, Huntingtown’s field hockey team struggled to score through stages of the season.
As it turns out, all the Hurricanes needed was a little incentive.
“I think they were promised doughnuts from the Sugar Shack over in Alexandria,” Huntingtown head coach Shannon Persetic said after her team’s 3-0 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division victory over the visiting Chopticon Braves on Tuesday afternoon.
Whatever the case, following back-toback 1-0 losses to Calvert and Northern on Sept. 26 and Sept. 28, Huntingtown (8-3, 3-3 SMAC Chesapeake) figured things out. The Hurricanes have outscored their opponents 19-1 in their games since, defeating La Plata, Great Mills, Leonardtown and Chopticon during that span.
“After the loss to Calvert we were really sad,” Huntingtown’s Kenley Zeruto said, “but then we got back up and haven’t lost a game since.”
The team put in the work in practice all season and the benefits have started to show up in the Hurricanes’ performance in games, according to Persetic.
“It’s so nice when you take things from practice to the field,” Persetic said. “It’s a good win today for the girls. Going into the playoffs it’s a really, really good win for them. It’s just leaps and bounds, what they’ve done Day 1 until now.”
When practice started Huntingtown’s team was largely inexperienced, but on Tuesday won a game that carried significance in terms of playoff seeding. Chopti-
con (7-4, 3-3) carried an identical record into the game, and with both teams competing in the Class 3A South Region in the postseason they were essentially determining which could snag a No. 2 seed in the region.
Jade Sanchez, Alexa Zeruto and Kenley Zeruto each contributed goals to the Hurricanes’ win. The team has steadily improved each step throughout the season, according to Alexa Zeruto.
“I think every game every game we’ve been improving,” she said. “It’s all the little things, getting faster, dodging, commu- nication. We’re definitely more confident now in our drives, our corners. We worked on corners for like two hours the other day, so our corners have gotten a lot better, I think.”
Sanchez concurred with her teammate’s assessment and noted how big a win over Chopticon was. It was the Braves who ended the Hurricanes’ season in the regional playoffs a year ago.
“Throughout the season we’ve really, really progressed,” Sanchez added. “We’re getting to the ball faster, communicating better, just everything is improving as the season goes on.
“Chopticon has beat us in the past and it’s been really heartbreaking. To come back this year and beat them by three feels so good.”
Huntingtown’s regular season is set to close when it hosts Meade, of Anne Arundel County, at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Chopticon will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss when it hosts North Point in its regular season finale at 4 p.m. today. For the Braves, it’s all about taking better advantage of opportunities when they are presented, according to head coach Anne Vallandingham.
“Huntingtown played a solid game yesterday,” Vallandingham said in an email on Wednesday morning. “Chopticon had opportunities to score, we need to capitalize on those moments and play with intensity and purpose. Communication is the name of the game.”
Huntingtown’s Kenley Zeruto, center, tries to work the ball past Chopticon’s Lindsey Gray on Tuesday afternoon. Zeruto scored one goal in Huntingtown’s 3-0 win.
Huntingtown’s Emma Pike and Chopticon’s Sarah Sweeney battle for the ball during the teams’ game at Huntingtown on Tuesday afternoon. Huntingtown defeated Chopticon 3-0.
Huntingtown’s Hailey Lagimoniere works to get the ball out of the Hurricanes’ defensive zone with Chopticon’s Isabella Lehr in pursuit during the second half of the teams’ game at Huntingtown on Tuesday afternoon. Huntingtown defeated the Braves 3-0.
Huntingtown’s Olivia Thompson hits the ball downfield during the Hurricanes’ game with the visiting Chopticon Braves on Tuesday afternoon. Huntingtown defeated the Braves 3-0.