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Forest Hills Field Hockey / Grand Rapids, MI

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Oct, 2019

Middle School Tops Division at Middle School Challenge

Despite a slow start to the day, the Forest Hills Field Hockey middle schoolers put it all together Saturday to earn first place in Division B at the Dexter Middle School Challenge.

Starting off the morning against the Pinnacle White team, Forest Hills controlled early play and received multiple penalty corners. However, no shots found the back of the cage, and Pinnacle gradually fought back to balance possession. The first game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Against the Pinckney Pirates, Forest Hills faced a tough opponent. Again, multiple shots were turned away by the Pinckney goalkeeper. However, the Pirates displayed a better counterattack and kept the defense on its heels for a good chunk of the game. With only a few minutes left, a pass bounced through to a Pinckney player on the back goalpost, and she put it home to seal a 1-0 win.

The final pool play matchup was against Honey Creek, who featured a very young team. Forest Hills was able to dominate the first half, with 8th-grader Logan Kirkwood getting on the board early. Fellow 8th-grader Maggie Sneider added a second goal to provide some cushion. Honey Creek mounted some attacks in the second half, but 8th-grade goalkeeper Alayna Gschwind turned away a shot on a breakaway to preserve the shutout. Kirkwood finished the scoring with another goal to secure a 3-0 victory.

With the win, Forest Hills earned enough points to take first place in the 'Super Girls B' group. The reward was a rematch in the 'challenge round' with Pinckney, who finished atop the 'Wonder Women B' group.

In the final game, Forest Hills went down 1-0 about midway through the first half, despite very balanced play overall. On a Forest Hills penalty corner, 8th-grader Maddie Shaner drove a shot that deflected up off a defender's stick. 8th-grade classmate Mia Dye was perfectly positioned near the post and used her height and stick coordination to bat the ball into the goal from over her head. Halftime came with a 1-1 tie. Both teams were clearly tired in the 2nd half, and Pinckney just missed on a couple of scoring chances. But Forest Hills battled back and experienced its own near-misses. With less than five minutes remaining, 6th-grader (and the team's newest member) JoJo Cumbo-Nacheli tipped a shot past the goalkeeper, and Forest Hills held on for the 2-1 win.
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