Hammond vs. Cardinal Newman Girls’ Soccer Game


Rachel Doar

Victory group hug!

Laurie Smith, Writer

March 15, 2019, will go down as a day that Hammond women’s soccer players will never forget. The rivalry between Hammond and Cardinal Newman has been around since before most students can remember, and soccer is the sport in which the rivalry is most intense. Hammond’s girls’ varsity soccer team has not beaten Cardinal Newman in recent school history.

The week leading up to the game was very exciting as students awaited kickoff, and the practices were intense and taken very seriously.

Hammond’s coach, Rafael Marquez, said, “I was confident that we had done everything we needed to do in order to challenge Cardinal Newman.”

His confidence clearly rubbed off on his players because senior Rosemary Angel had a similar mindset: “We knew that it was possible for us to win if we played simple and put all of our hearts into the game. Our goal was to defy the odds, and we did just that.”

Walking onto the field for warm-ups, the players’ eagerness to come out on top was clear. Coach Rafael really emphasized the importance a focused warm-up, and he discouraged players from watching their opponents during this time. This sense of focus allowed Hammond to get mentally prepared for the battle ahead of them.

The game started at a very fast pace. On the first drive of the game, Hammond was able to take their first shot on goal, surprising many people at their ability to break through the Cardinal’s defense so quickly.

The intensity and excitement escalated when Ellie Rickenmann made the first goal after only six minutes had passed in the game, and the energy took off on Hammond’s side of the stadium. The players had a newfound sense of hope, and they were all eager to keep the lead. Heriot Sadler followed behind soon after with another goal that was assisted by Eme McQueen.

With 16 minutes remaining in the first half, both teams were required to leave the field and stay in Hammond’s Wrestling Barn for over thirty-five minutes waiting for thunder to pass. In the Wrestling Barn, the teams circled up in opposite sides of the room, making for an awkward half hour.

Senior Morgan Aitchison said: “We could feel the tension because they were dead silent. We knew that they were going to come out even harder because we were up by two, so it was important that we kept the momentum up. We knew that if we continued to play well, we could make history.”

Cardinal Newman’s coach took this time to try and keep his players quiet and focused, whereas Coach Rafael allowed his players time to stretch and give each other tips for how to finish out the game strong.

Once the weather had finally cleared up, both teams stretched and got warmed up again, and then the battle continued. Cardinal Newman’s intensity had skyrocketed, allowing them to score soon after the game had resumed.

After halftime, the Lady Skyhawks knew that a win could very likely be in their future, but they also knew that a lot could happen in forty minutes. Hammond played a very defensive second half, trying to prevent Cardinal Newman from scoring and tying the game.

Claire Lewis confirmed the victory for Hammond on a breakaway goal, and every fan was on their feet. At that point, the Lady Skyhawks knew that they had finally accomplished their goal of beating the Cardinals, and every player was ecstatic. There were smiles all around, and a majority of them would last way after the final whistle had sounded.

“I felt that a target had been placed on the team’s back,” and he knew that teams would now bring their all into games versus Hammond. He also knew that the rematch at Cardinal Newman in just a few short weeks would be twice the battle that this one turned out to be,” Coach Rafael said.

Students can’t wait to continue to cheer the girls on, knowing that this team is one of the best the program has had in school history.

“We will continue to grow and prepare for the rest of the season. The only specific goal I have for the team is to continue to play strong and [keep improving] so we can finish the season on a strong note,” said Coach Rafael.