They toil in anonymity buried in the woods

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Hustle and domination does not always yield goals. Just ask Hal High Red Hawks field hockey team. Photos by Terrance Gavan.

But Red Hawk field hockey remains a churning juggernaut

By Terrance Gavan

Reprinted courtesy of The and The Highlander.

Ten bucks if you can answer the question: Where exactly is the Haliburton High field hockey pitch?

Okay, so don’t think I’m actually going to pay off on that bet. But you get the idea.

In spite of successive winning seasons, huge success over the past decade and some stellar performances from Red Hawk players on provincial teams, the women’s field hockey squads – yes there are two: varsity and the developmental B squad– toil in virtual anonymity.

They are the Rodney Dangerfields of Hal High.

Psst? Don’t tell coaches Caley Sisson and Steve Smith that. Wait. Go ahead. See, they don’t care, and in some ways they prefer it.

Sisson and Smith are happy with their stealthy programs. For instance, did you know that Smith’s varsity B-Club has won the Kawartha championship three years running? They have. What about COSSA, you ask? Well, varsity B doesn’t have a COSSA playoff – yet. But if it did? They’s be a contender there too.

Oh, and I get a schedule every year from the high school. Guess who’s listed as the Junior Varsity coach on the sked? Ryan Merritt. Guess what? Steve Smith could care less. Yesterday on the pitch, we had a chance to track the coaching staff down during a practice. Smith just laughed. “The girls know who’s coaching them,” said Smith.

The junior varsity went 3-0 in the annual Turkey Tournament held on Tuesday this week. They are undefeated (2-0-1) in league play. Small wonder. The varsity B’s pack a punch. A strong junior infrastructure keeps Sisson’s varsity club well stocked. They went undefeated through the entire season last year. But lost in a sudden death playoff in Kawartha zones. Thus you will find Sisson candidly mum on the subject of playoffs this season.

This is a tandem team effort. These two teams shine beneath the aura of mutual respect. Smith’s girls are happy waiting for their chance while compiling eye-popping stats.

The junior Hawks won Tuesday’s Turkey Tourney without giving up a goal. (1-0, 8-0 and 5-0)

Sisson’s varsity squad is 3-0 this season. They were narrowly defeated in the semi-finals of anOttawaexhibition tournament held earlier in the season. Their dominance in three league games has been almost palpable and certainly their prowess on offense remains non-pareil in Kawartha. Of course we said all this last season too. Sisson is stressing that one-step-at-a-time paradigm this season. Kawartha zones are sudden death affairs and seasonal dominance thereby may be flushed, along with the stat sheets, right down the biffy.

Bancroft’sNorth Hastingsis a club that dogs the dreams of both coaches. On Tuesday Smith’s club beat Bancroft 1-0 at theTurkeyshoot.

Sisson is quick to point out that theHastings’ team that showed up did not include their six senior players.

Bancroft’s varsity was supposed to hang about for an exhibition game, but that game was cancelled by the Bancroft coach, adding fuel to speculation that the Bancroft coach may be indulging Sisson in a chess match of sorts.

North Hastingsand the Hawks endure a rivalry that doesn’t quite match the touch and go between JayZ and  Kanye, but it’s close.

Sisson says she was ready to playNorth Hastingslast Tuesday, but she shrugs and says that showdown will have to wait for another day. Usually that other day comes via a COSSA sudden death match-up on a blustery pitch.

And if it does?

Well, advantage Haliburton, because Hal High is hosting the COSSA tourney this year.

Just under the wire: The senior varsity tied Adam Scott 0-0 yesterday afternoon (Oct. 13). We’re on deadline so results will be available next week in The Highlander.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]