Editor's Note: Written by Mike Cosgrove. Send your sports news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fairfax Field Hockey team entered the last week of the regular season with a 13-1 record, undefeated in Liberty District play. With wins over Langley and second place Marshall, the Rebels could lock down the coveted top seed in the district tournament and berth in the Northern Region Tournament.
Rebels started the week against the Langley Saxons (2-12, 2-3) on Oct. 9. In the first half, the game was back and forth with both teams able to string together passes through the midfield and deep into the opponent's territory. Neither team was able to maintain possession into the circle and create quality scoring chances. As the half wore on, the Rebels were able to manage a few shots on goal, but were unable to convert them into goals.
In the second half, the Rebels came out and took command of the midfield. Behind the strong play of senior captain Sam Zelenack, the Rebels pressed the play deep into the Langley zone, creating scoring chance after scoring chance. The Rebels shots were continually either turned away by Saxons goalkeeper Brittony Trumbull or sailed just wide of the Langley goal.
In the final minute of regulation, as it looked like the game might be headed to overtime, Rebels junior midfielder Sara Allen stole a Saxons clearing pass and dribbled by two defenders into the Saxons circle. Allen fired a shot toward the near post where senior captain Shannon Cosgrove was able to deflect the ball into the net.
The victory over the Saxons set up a showdown between Fairfax and Marshall for the districts top seed on Oct. 11. The Statesman (12-3, 4-1) got off to a hot start on their senior night, pressing into Rebel territory and drawing a couple of penalty corners. The Rebels defense would hold Marshall off the scoreboard behind strong defending and possession play from senior Katie Rossbach and sophomores Meg Robertson and Mackenzie Burnett.
As the first half wore on, the Rebels were able to even up possession, and late in the first half, score what would ultimately be the game winning goal. Sam Zelenack won a ball near midfield, and after beating two Marshall players, fired a shot to the far post where Shannon Cosgrove was able to deflect the ball into the Statesman goal.
In the second half, the Rebels started to take greater control of possession and continued to press the Marshall goal. Sara Allen provided the Rebels the insurance they needed when she intercepted a clearing pass and fired a shot past the Statesman goalkeeper late in the game.
With the win, the Rebels finished the regular season 15-1, and a perfect 6-0 in the Liberty District without giving up a goal in district play. As the Liberty District No. 1 seed, the Rebels secured a first round bye in the Liberty District Tournament as well as a berth in the Northern Region Tournament. The Rebels return to the field next week as three-time defending champions of the Liberty District.