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Specht, Wong goals lift Baldwin to victory

Daniella Specht of Baldwin, left, gets pressured by

Daniella Specht of Baldwin, left, gets pressured by Gianna Viaggio of New Hyde Park during a Nassau Conference I field hockey match at Baldwin on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Credit: James Escher

There are times during a season that a team has to evaluate how they are playing, and where they are heading.

For the Baldwin field hockey team, that reflection came on a 10-mile bus ride home after a tough five-goal, loss at Massapequa on Monday.

“The bus ride home was quiet,” Baldwin coach Mike Hoover said. “I thought our focus before the game was nonexistent and very lethargic. It had been problem a couple of times, but we really saw it Monday.”

Less than 48 hours later, the Bruins showed a renewed mindset, and the results were evident after a hard-fought 2-0 Nassau I win against visiting New Hyde Park on Wednesday.

“I told the girls,” Hoover said, “ ‘I’m included in this. I did not get you ready for the (Massapequa) game.’”

So Baldwin, which lost 5-0 against Class A rival Massapequa on Monday, made some adjustments at practice and in their pregame warmups.

“Our focus was better,” Hoover said. “We did a few things differently, and we played well right off the bat.”

Though it took until midway through the second half for the results to bear fruit. Forward Daniella Specht scored unassisted with 17:55 remaining and, later, Alexis Holt found Emma Wong, who scored with 6:15 left for Baldwin (2-3). Kailey Brower had two saves for her third shutout of the season, and was supported by a stingy defense including senior Kelsi King and juniors Elizabeth Madison and Gabby Feeney.

“They (New Hyde Park) are a good team,” Hoover said. “If you are lackadaisical, you’re in trouble. We lost to them 4-1 (on Sept. 15).”

Ann Grimshaw had eight saves for New Hyde Park (2-5).

“It was definitely an even match. They would dominate part of the game, then we would dominate for a stretch,” New Hyde Park coach Kori Brocking said. “We had some good opportunities, but unfortunately we’d dribble into the goalie’s pads, or one of their defenders would stop us.”

It’s been a tough season for the young Gladiators, who have lost five straight games.

“We’ve graduated a lot the last two years — 17 seniors,” Brocking said. “That was pretty much our heart and soul.”

Heart and soul is what Hoover is expecting from his team from now on.

“We preached about being focused and having good energy,” Hoover said. “Our captains led us through.”

Those captains would include seniors King, Kayla Brown, Nadia Elcock and Specht, a junior.

“It’s not just about clearing the ball, or scoring goals,” Hoover said. “It almost sounds so simple, but sometimes it can be about focus and energy. Sometimes you have to talk with the team and talk with your leaders . . . . It was good to get back on track.”


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