BELLEVILLE - Huntingdon's field hockey coach told her players that Tuesday's game at Belleville Mennonite was one they could win if they stayed focused and played well.
They did. And she was right - the Bearcats scored once in each half to shut out Belleville Mennonite 2-0.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, they were their own worst enemy in the first half, and were unable to capitalize on their successes in the second.
Belleville Mennonite's lackluster play aided Huntingdon in the early going. The Trojans were hesitant when playing the ball - waiting for it instead of pursuing - struggled to pass accurately and weren't committed to tackling the ball when the Bearcats were moving upfield.
That kind of play was directly responsible for Huntingdon's first goal. The Bearcats got into the circle and stayed there. A penalty corner - one of two they were awarded in the first half, the only time the opportunity presented itself - turned into a sustained rally in front of Trojan keeper Molly Morgan, as the defense just couldn't get the ball out.
Huntingdon's Mel Hawn found the opening her team needed, and barely three and a half minutes into the contest, it was 1-0.
*Belleville Mennonite travels to Forbes Road Oct. 16
"We tell them constantly: Dribble it out, dribble it out - don't just hit it," Belleville Mennonite coach Glenna Young lamented. "That's what they were doing. Whack, whack."
The Trojans found their way to the shooting gallery a couple times in the first half, but didn't get any opportunities handed to them and couldn't create any against Huntingdon's stingy play in the back.
The second half was another story. Belleville Mennonite started aggressively, forced corners, won possession battles and pressured the circle - all things at which the Trojans were unsuccessful in the first half - but shots were mostly from a distance and relatively easy to defend.
"But we couldn't score, and that's what you have to do," Young said. "You have to finish it."
And then, when the ball finally did turn in the Bearcats' direction, it went straight up the field and in the goal again. Ashton Stone carried a breakaway past the defense and delivered her team's first shot of the half into the cage.
"That was their first time up the field, wasn't it?," Young said. "So anyway, that's hockey."
Belleville Mennonite (2-10) is idle until Oct. 16, when the Trojans travel to Forbes Road.