As September came and went, the Valley Center varsity field hockey team was in the middle of an up-and-down season that featured some big wins and some tough losses.
The Lady Jags have found their rhythm after a lackluster start to the season. Photo by Dan Kidder / Valley Roadrunner
But ever since the Lady Jaguars suffered a 1–0 loss to San Dieguito on Oct. 4, they have put together an impressive run of four wins in the last five games, including a big home win on Friday.
"We've been playing a full sixty minutes," said head coach Rebecca Embrey after the latest victory. "We're communicating well on the field, we're connecting our passes and the girls are getting more and more comfortable with each other, so they know each others' tendencies much better than they did at the beginning of the season."
The outstanding run began on Oct. 11 against Escondido, a game that the Lady Jaguars won 2–0 behind goals from Savanna Fiehler and Bianka Perez. Becca Vizcarra and Kaylin Ryan each added an assist in the game, while in goal, Bailey Gilmore made five saves and Bailey Sanders added another save to combine for the victory.
Up next was a 3–1 win at Mission Hills, as the Lady Jags got two goals from leading scorer Delaney Cummings and another score from Emily Hutchinson, who also added two assists. Sanders made three saves in net, while Gilmore made two more in the win.
The one blemish came on Oct. 18 in a game at San Pasqual that the Lady Eagles won 6–0.
But after the loss, the Lady Jaguars regrouped for a 2–0 win at San Marcos, as Hutchinson and Vizcarra scored the goals, Chandler Hall had an assist, and both Sanders and Gilmore made one save in net.
Then on Friday, the Lady Jags hosted Del Norte and overcame an early deficit to take a 2–1 win.
The Lady Nighthawks scored first, but Valley Center evened the score with just over ten minutes left before halftime, as Cummings put home a goal off a corner.
Then, with only four minutes remaining before the half, Fiehler took a long shot from an angle that was saved by the Del Norte keeper, but Hutchinson was in perfect position to bang home the rebound and put her team up by a goal.
Neither team could establish much possession in the second half, but with just under four minutes to go, Hutchinson had a shot ring off the outside of the goal post for the best scoring chance of the half, as Valley Center held on through a late Del Norte surge to put the win on ice.
"We're headed in the right direction in league," Coach Embrey added. "We just have to keep supporting each other, keep carrying each other, distribute the ball and keep working."
The Lady Jags have three more games in the regular season, beginning with a home game against Mission Hills on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Then they host San Marcos next Friday before playing at Del Norte on Nov. 13.