No. 7 Westminster displays tradition in edging Liberty Graduation-hurt Owls still win with new faces

Field hockey

September 20, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The faces have changed some, but the desire and enthusiasm that has long marked the Westminster field hockey tradition remains.

With 12 seniors lost to graduation and only one starter back, you might guess that the Owls would be a little vulnerable at the start of this season.

Guess again. The seventh-ranked Owls improved to 2-0 last night with a solid 3-0 home win over No. 11 Liberty.

Senior Kelly Berkle scored two goals and junior Becky Towns, the Owls' only returning starter, added the other as, from the outset, Westminster showed its typical dominance.

The Owls came out fast in the first half with four penalty corner chances in the first 15 minutes, but couldn't find the cage until Berkle scored on a scramble in front with 5: 50 remaining.

Junior Lisa Duke, who got the first of her two assists, started the play with some nifty stickwork along the left side, earning the Owls a long hit. Duke pushed the ball through the crease to Berkle, on the right side.

"I was at the right place at the right time -- that's what field hockey is all about," Berkle said. "We're just building up and all working together as a team."

Despite outplaying the Lions (1-3) for most of the first 30 minutes, the Owls still had only a one-goal lead at the half.

"The first half, we were our own worst enemies, taking shots away from each other and trying too hard," said Westminster co-coach Brenda Baker. "But I was very pleased with the performance. The lack of experience hasn't hurt them. The determination, desire and enthusiasm is there, and that's all you can ask for."

Towns, who was all over the field most of the game and dazzling at times with her crafty stickwork, was finally rewarded for her effort with a goal midway through the second half.

She's not a bit surprised how this year's team has picked up where last year's left off. The 1995 Owls were undefeated in the regular season and region playoffs before losing in the state semifinals.

"Working hard and playing together," Towns said. "That's how we do so well."

Liberty coach Courtney Vaughn got a strong game from senior Liz Armstrong, who distributed the ball well in the middle and had a shot go just wide moments before Berkle's first goal in the first half. Lions junior goalie Paige Bankert also played well with nine saves.

Pub Date: 9/20/96

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