POWHATAN – They made the change while in warm-ups.
Looking to make something out of its penalty corners, Powhatan Field Hockey switched its position on corners from the right side to the left side. An adjustment was also made to senior Michala Taylor’s swing.
“And then we tried it,” Taylor said, “and it worked.”
She got the ball on Powhatan’s fourth corner within the first nine minutes of game time, and she drilled it in on one of two long strikes she’d make for goals off of corners in that match.
“We were like: ‘There it is!’ Because we’d been having trouble with corners all year long,” Taylor said. “That worked great, and shout-out to Coach [Caryn Rehme] – we fixed it literally 5 minutes before the game.”
Powhatan would go on to rout Manchester 6-0, with Hanna Hathaway’s goal ending the game a little past the 56th minute of regulation due to the Indians’ 6-goal lead.
“Today was fun…our team needed this; we’ve been in a little bit of a slump lately and we had a couple mishaps and…we weren’t feeling too good about ourselves,” Taylor said. “We needed this game and today coaches were saying that they needed somebody to step up, and I feel like that was my duty to do, so I did that.”
“We’ve been talking about how we need people to step up. We have a lot of seniors, but a lot of them are quiet, and they lead by example, but we really needed somebody to just kind of take control and be the person that says: ‘Come on guys, we’ve got to do this,’” Powhatan head coach Stephanie Tyson said after Wednesday’s victory, “and the thing about Michala is, when she plays well, everybody feeds off her energy and plays well, too. I don’t expect her to always have perfect games, but…the past couple of games, she’s been playing amazing, and when she plays good, we all play better.”
Taylor led Powhatan with 4 goals on Wednesday, and she pulled off the hat trick less than 20 minutes into the game when she slammed the ball in after picking up a deflection up the middle after Manchester's goalie saved a hard shot from Lexie Campbell.
“I just keep telling her every day: keep competing, keep working hard, play and have fun – the rest will come,” Tyson said of Taylor. “You can tell she dominated today.”
“It was amazing – I just love all my teammates and they love me, and even though we go through rough times, we have good times like this, and winning 6-0’s the best feeling in the world after coming off of a loss,” Taylor said, “especially one like [Tuesday, Sept. 17] where we were defeating [Clover Hill] completely in the first half and then we just lost energy in the second half, but today showed that we know we have heart and we always keep pushing.”
“We definitely needed it after [Tuesday],” Tyson said of Wednesday’s victory.
Taylor picked up her fourth goal in the second half when she raced the ball past the goalie, got tripped up and stayed on her feet while tapping the shot against the backboard.
Hathaway, who along with sophomore Catherine Griffith moved the ball well along the sideline, ended the game early with a long strike of her own off of a corner.
“I’m just really happy to be able to contribute especially because we were in kind of a miniature slump, and it was really nice to win a strong win on our own field,” Hathaway said. “We worked out some positioning kinks that we had that kind of slowed us down.”
“Everyone is playing new positions this year, but I think today, everyone just fell into place, and we just played for just pure fun,” Taylor said. “We didn’t worry about whether we were messing up or what play to do, or anything. We just played field hockey, and that’s the best thing that we can ever do.”
Powhatan led 4-0 at the half after Bella Lhuillier tapped in a goal from the right side, also off of a corner. In all, the Indians scored 4 times off of 13 corners earned.
Just like with Taylor, the team also plays better when Kaitlin Thompson at center midfield plays well, Tyson noted.
“She’s so composed,” she said. “She makes such good passes and she makes things happen.”
Wednesday’s triumph marked the first home win of the season for Powhatan (4-3) thus far. The Indians are cycling back around to facing Cosby on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at home and Midlothian on Wednesday, Sept. 25 on the road.
“At the end of the day, our team plays best when we’re happy, and when we’re not worried or stressed,” Taylor said, “so the best thing we can do is just lean on each other and love each other…we always have a great atmosphere, we always build each other up, so just keeping that same composure and that same positive attitude during the game is what gets us through every time.”