Last year St Cuthbert’s College lost the final of the AON Federation Cup in golden extra time to Christchurch’s Villa Maria College, making Saturday’s 1-0 triumph in the 2017 final over Rangi Ruru Girls’ School all the more sweeter.
“Last year’s loss to Villa Maria in the final is the only competition match we have lost in two years. Eleven of our players were in the side last year that lost the final so winning this year’s final was extra special for that group of players,” coach Mitch Hayde told College Sport Media this week.
Saturday was the third time that St Cuthbert’s College have had their name etched on the Federation Cup, the pinnacle girls secondary school hockey tournament in New Zealand, after previous wins in 2008 and 2012.
Coach Mitch said this year’s final was as tough as expected, with Rangi Ruru’s defence proving hard to break down, in the first half especially.
It was 0-0 at halftime. What was said at halftime?
“We spoke a lot about sticking to the process and making sure that we have a strong defensive structure first. We knew if we could defend well that we could create enough opportunities and it was just a matter of making sure we put those away, which is what we did with the penalty stroke.”
St Cuthbert’s broke out twice early in the second half and the winning penalty came from Madi Doar in the 8th minute of the second half.
“It is always good to have that one goal buffer, and straight after we scored there was definitely a boost in energy where we had two or three other pretty good chances to score. To Rangi’s credit they defended these well again and got right back in the match, creating some good opportunities themselves.”
The final was a nail-biter to the very end, with Rangi Ruru almost drawing level in the dying seconds with a penalty corner.
“The team defended a penalty corner on full-time in both our quarter and semi-final matches so we were well prepared to defend this. The defenders put themselves in some brave positions to cut down Rangi’s options and Sophia Howard (GK) made an outstanding save.
“Defending that corner, and the whistle blowing almost straight after is a moment those girls will certainly remember forever.”
Prior to the knockout matches, St Cuthbert’s had scored 32 goals and conceded only one.
Completing an unbeaten season, St Cuthbert’s had beaten neighbours and rivals Auckland Diocesan in the finals of both the Auckland and Super City competition. “A highlight would have been overcoming a number of injuries, including not having one of our co-captains, Madi Doar, to beat Dio 5-1 in the Super City final, said Mitch.” Madi and Kendall Vaughan were the two co-captains of the St Cuthbert’s team this year.
“The team was very ‘values based’, with all players having a good understanding of the teams values and the behaviours that were required. These values created a hard working a positive environment in the team with every player leading themselves to be ‘the best they can be.”
Madi made her debut for the Black Sticks earlier this year, while Madi, Katie Doar and Sophia Howard will all represent Auckland at next week’s National Hockey League. Madi, Katie, Sophia and Tonya Botherway were all recently named in the New Zealand U18 squad.
The team scored 101 goals and conceded just six in the Auckland Super City competitions and scored 43 goals and let in two in the Federation Cup (144 -8 combined score all season).
Madi was the top scored at Fed Cup with 10 goals, Tonya Botherway wasn’t far behind with eight.
Coach Mitch is in his second year as coach and is looking to continue on 2018. Scott Vaughan is assistant coach and Ash James and Shelley Ireton are the co-managers.
The future looks bright for the playing roster.
“We only lose three players from this year’s team and we have a good group of up and coming players in our second XI and U15 team.”
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