“This is the first time we’ve beaten La Jolla in a while,” said the tall, smiling Schwimmer, right after the game. “They beat us two times in (the Western) league last year. We haven’t beaten them in a while.” A teammate chimed in: “They’re really good.”
Coach Gary Hendrickson’s Lady Knight team isn’t too shabby itself, ranked third in Division 1, having won 18 of 22 matches at this writing. The Knights won the rare shootout, after a nerve-wracking 10-minute overtime of 7-versus-7 on the Bishop’s turf prolonged the 0-0 tie. (Teams field 11 players each during regular play.) Senior captain Sarah Mischel set up Lila Browne’s go-ahead goal in the shootout against Viking goalie Bridget Ballo, who as Schwimmer’s counterpart played a heck of a game, too.
In all, it took Bishop’s beyond the initial five-shot penalty phase, to Mischel’s and Browne’s additional tries on the team’s sixth and seventh shot attempts.
Earlier, senior Hana Belmonte-Ryu rifled a hit through the opposing goalie’s legs for a score. Mischel, Hendrickson’s first designated shooter, also scored to lead off the penalty phase.
“We work well together,” said senior forward Andrea Contreras of the squad. “We back each other up.”
Ashley Jay, another of the Lady Knights’ seven seniors who was serenaded on her 18th birthday after the win, said, “I’m the oldest one on the team. I’m the team mom,” as she put her arm around teammate Marley Meyer in a motherly gesture. The septuplet of seniors—there were only three on last year’s squad—said they build family through sleepovers, where they eat “lots of pizza and lots of junk food,” and through contributing each player’s “hype” music, which goes through Meyer’s phone.
Favorite hype songs include “Flawless” and “Around the World” by Beyonce. Pizza faves range from Mischel’s choice of vegetarian to Belmonte-Ryu’s feta cheese with spinach.
Keona Lee, the defense’s sweeper--”She has played all but five minutes of every game as a sophomore, junior, and now a senior,” interjected her coach—had a unique way of describing her “very unified” team: “We’re very open-minded. Everyone, including the younger players, has an equal say.”
Said Hendrickson, “Unity and goodness (characterize his players). They’re very kind. They support one another.”
Schwimmer, the goalie, talked about the intersection of math and field hockey: “A lot of what I’m thinking about in goal is about spacing--math and angles. I work with our defense, which has been great this year.
“What I like about both (math and her sport) is you implement angles and speed in games.”
Lee, a four-year starter, like Mischel a package of dynamite at 5-feet 3-inches tall, shares a pretty rare story for your garden variety field hockey player. On her 16th birthday, she attended a Metallica concert at Petco Park and got pulled up on stage by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. As he stood behind her, she got to play drums “in front of 64,000 people” on the song “Seek and Destroy’ a great song for defense,” Lee smiled.