The Guac Girls, Fallbrook’s field hockey team which played in the National Field Hockey Festival in La Quinta during Thanksgiving Weekend, won its pool.
“Pretty neat for the girls,” said coach Kathy Waite.
The Guac Girls played each of the other teams in the under-19 girls Pool J and won five games while tying the other. The win in their pool was the first ever for the Guac Girls.
“Really proud of them. Great to have them do what they did,” Waite said. “It was awesome.”
Waite coaches both the Guac Girls and the Fallbrook High School varsity field hockey team. In addition to 14 players from the Fallbrook High School varsity and junior varsity teams, the Guac Girls squad which participated in this year’s National Field Hockey Festival also included two girls from the Vista High School team.
The high school pools were divided into Pools A through U, with A being the toughest competition and U being the lowest level of competition.
The other six teams in Pool J were the Knuckleheads from New York, Peninsula Lightning from Virginia, Viper Red from Pennsylvania, High Styx Wolfpack from Pennsylvania, Shore from Maryland, and New Heights Phoenix from New Jersey.
“It’s so competitive. On any given day it could have swung so easily the other way,” Waite said of the competition.
The Guac Girls played two games November 26, starting the tournament with a 1-0 win over High Styx Wolfpack. That afternoon they defeated Knuckleheads by a 5-0 score.
“It’s so nice to start Thanksgiving dinner with a couple of wins under your belt,” Waite said.
The Guac Girls’ five goals against Knuckleheads were one more than the New York team allowed against its other five opponents. Knuckleheads won their other five games by a combined margin of 15-4.
“They just had an off-day,” Waite said of the Guac Girls’ 5-0 win.
Waite noted that the Knuckleheads’ level of play wasn’t reflective of the lopsided score. “It still felt like a pretty tight game,” she said.
That game would turn out to be the one which decided the pool championship. Peninsula Lightning finished third in the pool with three wins, two losses, and one tie.
The Guac Girls’ first November 27 game was a scoreless tie against Viper Red, who finished fourth in the pool with two wins, two losses and two ties. Unlike CIF play, where a “strokes” series of penalty shots determines a winner if the score is tied, the National Field Hockey Festival has no tiebreakers after regulation.
The Fallbrook-based squad’s other game that day was a 3-2 win over Shore.
“It was a strong game,” Waite said of the second November 27 match.
Shore scored the first goal, but the Guac Girls were able to tally an equalizer. Shore then took a 2-1 lead, but the Guac Girls once again tied the game and then went ahead on Kyle Little’s goal with about five minutes left. Shore was thus the only team to have a lead on the Guac Girls during the tournament.
The Guac Girls began November 28 with a 3-1 win over New Heights Phoenix. The Guac Girls led by a 2-0 score before the referee deemed that goalie Jahna Jordan trapped the ball and awarded a penalty stroke which was converted into a goal. Although the stroke denied Jordan the shutout in that game, she would end the tournament with four shutouts.
Waite’s squad concluded the tournament November 28 with a 1-0 win over Peninsula Lightning.
“Our hardest game was our last one. They were awesome. It was really hard. We barely did it,” Waite said.
Had Peninsula Lightning defeated the Guac Girls, both teams would have been tied for second place in the standings – and with the Knuckleheads’ final game not completed, first place was still possible for Peninsula Lightning. With five minutes left
Peninsula Lightning pulled their goalie and had 11 field players.
“We barely made it,” Waite said. “It was a hard-fought game.”
Waite noted that the Guac Girls scored many of their goals on corner plays.
In addition to providing experience for the players, the National Field Hockey Festival also provides exposure to college coaches.
“Tons of coaches,” Waite said.
Ray Hughey, whose daughter played for the Guac Girls, provided a team profile for college coaches.
“I was so proud of the girls,” Waite said.