Balers field hockey has reason to celebrate

Balers senior Railyn King is a the team's top goal scorer and a dynamic playmaker. Photo by Chris Mora.

Now in its fourth year as a program, the San Benito High field hockey team hits a milestone today when a ribbon cutting ceremony precedes its Pacific Coast League Gabilan Division match against Gilroy. The event celebrates the first official match at its new field hockey facility.

Last Saturday, the Haybalers participated in the Leigh Tournament, playing four abbreviated matches. San Benito played tough competition—finishing 0-3-1—and came out of the tournament feeling good about its chances to contend for a league championship this season.

“After this tournament, I feel the girls are ready,” Balers coach Molly Macierz said. “They played smart and played hard until the very end.”

Railyn King, Sarah Meza, Mackenzie Honeycutt, Kaitlyn Tedesco and Sam Bloom are the five senior players who were on the school’s first-ever field hockey team in their freshman year. King, a center forward, scores in a variety of ways and is a true game-changer.

“Railyn has a lot of speed and gets the ball to our forwards,” Macierz said.

King and Bloom are the captains of the team, with the midfielder Bloom able to play different positions on the field. Junior Sam Moran and senior Roos Spring had standout performances in a scoreless tie against Monta Vista in the team’s fourth match in the Leigh Tournament.

Moran possessed the ball a ton in the first half, with Spring doing likewise in the second half. Both players used their instincts and aggression to gain control of the ball, keep it and give their team scoring chances. San Benito dominated Monta Vista, especially in a first half when it kept the ball on Monta Vista’s side of the field for the majority of the time.

“We just can’t terminate the goals,” Moran said. “We need to be able to finish, but it was hard for us to do that without Railyn. But we did good at setting things up for each other and positioning ourselves better in the right places on the field.”

Meza and Nailea Betancourt are strong defenders, while goalies Katalina Santiago and Yasmin Gonzalez have been providing solid play in the cage. Victoria De Sousa, Angela De Jesus, Kiani McKeon, and freshmen Ryen Ortiz and Kylie Sparks all provided solid play against Monta Vista.

The Balers have never made the Central Coast Section playoffs, and they’ll need to finish in the top two in the Gabilan Division to earn a postseason berth. That will be a tough task with North Salinas, Gilroy and Christopher and possibly other squads all expected to vie for those two spots. However, Macierz and Moran feel confident the team will be in the hunt for one of those coveted playoff berths.

“At the end of the season, I feel like we’ll be the best team in the league,” Moran said. “I feel we have a lot of good players who can switch a lot on the field.”

Macierz said the goal of every team is to be able to make quick transition from offense to defense and vice versa. A team’s ability to switch up in the flow of play is paramount to success.

“Eventually we want to be able to do a lot of switches on the field,” Macierz said. “Having the ability to push up or move back and play different formations and being able to make different adjustments during the game will allow us to get to where we want to be.”

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