By Desirée Keegan
For Paloma Blatter, confirmation counts.
With seven minutes remaining in a 0-0 game against Patchogue-Medford, the Comsewogue field hockey sophomore scored on a scrum in front of the cage to win it, in an away game for the Warriors Sept. 26.
“It felt great personally to know you won it for your team, but getting the pats on the back from your teammates is the best approval you could ever get,” the midfielder said. “There’s nothing more important than putting it all on the line for your team.”
Comsewogue had some chances in the first half, but the team came up empty on several corner attempts. Sophomore defender Olivia Fantigrossi said the team is working on that aspect of its game but is still struggling with communication and obstruction calls. She said she was impressed though with her team’s grit.
“Going into the circle we have hard hits and good accuracy,” she said. “I think we were also successful blocking hits and sending them off the sideline to prevent the other team from getting a goal.”
Comsewogue head coach Jacqueline Wilkom said Fantigrossi flies all over the field when needed.
“She was out on every ball,” she said.
Her captain, senior midfielder Hannah Dorney, also wowed the coach.
“Hannah Dorney is a great athlete and really helped with leading the field,” Wilkom said. “She led the pep talk at halftime and they came out with a lot more intensity and they wanted to play.”
After losing nine seniors and the entire defensive unit to graduation after last season, Dorney said she too likes what she’s seeing from the young squad.
“We passed a lot better than we usually do,” she said. “We tend to get caught dribbling from one end of the field to the other, but today we worked the ball around more and from one side of the field to the other. We talked more in the second half, looked up, saw the options and we had the opportunities, we just weren’t finishing. We can’t let the ball slip past us as much.”
Wilkom said the team works hard and puts in the effort to improve. She said the girls are frequently seen dancing around the locker room before games, but she just hopes that energy can carry onto the field.
“They pump each other up and they want to play,” she said. “And I think that’s important. They want to be a team to be reckoned with and our motto ‘surrender the me for the we’ will help us do that. We need all 11 players working together as a unit to get that win.”
Blatter said she agreed that motivation needs to be there from whistle to whistle.
“We always find a way to come together as a team, even in our losses,” she said. “We’re always together and lifting each other up, especially this season, but we need to work on stepping onto the field and putting everything in it from the minute the timer starts to the minute it ends. If we can come out like we know we can in the beginning we’ll be a tough team to beat this year.”
Wilkom said the rise in the standings has added extra incentive — especially after going from a 3-11 team last year, to now currently boasting a 7-2 Division I record.
“We went from being in the 20s to fifth in the standings,” she said. “That’s a big deal for us — to be a team that people want to come out and beat.”