There are changes taking place this season in Colorado girls field hockey.
This has very little to do with the COVID pandemic that curtailed activities last year. The perennial powers like Regis Jesuit in Aurora, Colorado Academy in Lakewood and Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village are still good but other teams are improving, and the balance in the Colorado Field Hockey League is starting to grow.
Teams like Palmer Ridge in Monument, Kent Denver in Cherry Hills Village, Arapahoe in Centennial and Mountain Vista in Highlands Ranch are improving and showing a competitive edge.
“There are other programs starting to step up and it's just good to see,” said Arapahoe coach Paul Lewis. “We've grown leaps and bounds this year. We've come up from last year. It's the coaching level starting to step up and it's good to see with good competition.”
Arapahoe, the No. 5 ranked team in the CHSAANow.com poll, downed No. 7 co-op Mountain Vista 3-0 in a Sept. 27 game at Shea Stadium in Highlands Ranch.
“A lot of things have gotten a whole lot better during the season,” said Mountain Vista coach Cindy Staab, including “really feeding our attackers, feeding the ball and pushing up. We've really struggled defensively to get marked up man on man.
“I believe now you see eight solid teams. We're all getting there. Colorado Academy and Regis are a lot younger with their programs. They have field hockey in their younger grades. I mean I have 20 new freshmen this year and none of them have played the sport before. We pull from all over with girls learning to work with each other. It's just not as good in the middle school programs in Douglas County.”
Arapahoe notched its fifth straight series win for over Mountain Vista and the Warriors have not allowed a goal to the Golden Eagles in five games.
Brynn Dzengelewski, Bella Cote and Rachel Kennedy had goals for the Warriors while Ella Rakowski had three assists. Logan Frey made three saves in the shutout victory.
“Mountain Vista did a great job and their program is growing,” said Lewis. “I lucked out. I came in this year and got to work with some pretty good athletes and was able to change the mindset of our program. We brought in a little different culture.
“We tried to change to instill the ability for the players to make changes for themselves. We have changes for all sort of drills and game type plays and the players have to talk through and develop a strategy on how to get themselves better.”
Arapahoe, which faced a challenge against Colorado Academy on Sept. 30, improved to 7-1-2 overall for the season while Mountain Vista slipped to 5-5-1.
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