In a game that matched two field hockey squads with CIF aspirations, No. 4 Torrey Pines rolled to a convincing, 4-0, decision over No. 3 host Cathedral Catholic Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 3. The victory lifted the Falcons to 9-5 while the Dons, who came in with a six-game winning streak, slipped to 13-2-2.
Torrey Pines wasted no time in this one, racing out to a 3-0 halftime lead and never looking back. All the scoring came from seniors as Sophia LeRose accounted for a pair and Ryan Poe and Marisa Mitchell notched one apiece. The second half was clearly an upgrade for Cathedral Catholic but the Dons were never able to seriously threaten the visitors.
Although Tuesday’s clash could easily be a precursor to next month’s CIF Playoffs, neither coach was going overboard in assessing its importance. First-year Falcon Head Coach Lucy Busby felt her side simply took care of business. “When you have two evenly-matched teams, it usually comes down to who wants it more and I think we wanted it,” said Busby. “We played consistently, didn’t get too fired up and didn’t let any calls get in our heads. We played our game defensively, gave ourselves a lot of offensive opportunities and converted them.”
CC’s Vianney Yamada, also in her initial season as head coach, described her team’s showing as “just a little bit of an off day” that came at the wrong time. “Against a team that’s as well-structured and disciplined as Torrey Pines, you just can’t do that and expect to come out on top,” explained Yamada. “We’ve had a very good start to the season, won the University City Tournament last weekend and the kids might still be riding that high.
“We haven’t really had to come from behind and being put in that situation today will probably be a good learning experience for us in the long run.” Although the outcome was all but decided in the first half, Yamada was upbeat about what she saw from her team, preferring to focus on the second 30 minutes.
“Absolutely,” said Yamada when asked if she saw any positives against Torrey Pines. “We made some adjustments at halftime, played a little more aggressively on defense and in the circle, and held them to one goal. I would have liked to have seen us adjust a little better on the offensive end but other than that, I was pleased with what we did in the second half.”
Two-thirds of the remaining regular season schedule will be compromised of league opponents for both teams. Among Cathedral Catholic’s opponents in the stacked City Western League are perennial powerhouses Serra and Scripps Ranch, who hold down the No. 1-2 slots in the latest county rankings. For Torrey Pines, the Avocado West North County League includes the likes of Canyon Crest Academy, San Dieguito Academy (both top 10 outfits) and La Costa Canyon.
Then comes the CIF Championships. Both schools have strong recent post-season histories and expectations of reaching the Open Division bracket. For Torrey Pines, it would be a return to Open Division play after winning the Division I title last fall. The Falcons were second place finishers in both 2015 (Open) and 2014 (D-I). Cathedral Catholic, which reached the semi-finals of the D-II playoffs in 2014 and the second round of D-I a year later, made its debut in the Open Division playoffs in 2016, falling in the first round. Busby and Yamada are both looking forward to being part of the top classification this season.
“I’m confident in my team and what we can produce together,” said Busby. “There are a lot of factors—what we do with our skills, where we are mentally—but I’d like to think we’ll have a chance against anybody going into it.”
Yamada’s expressed similar sentiments. “You’re never happy to lose a game like today’s but I’m very confident in our team. We’ve played and been successful against high level teams before and the more we get to see those types of teams, the better we’re going to get.
“We’re excited about what lies ahead and will use the rest of the season to prepare for CIF—we’ll see what we’re able to do.”