Friday’s Niagara-Orleans League field hockey matchup between rivals Medina and Roy-Hart was supposed to take place a few weeks ago.
But when a soccer game at Roy-Hart took longer than expected, the game was moved to Medina, to take place on the turf at Veterans Park preceding the homecoming football game against Lew-Port.
For coach Kristi Young and the Lady Mustangs, it was well worth the wait. Dominique Hughes scored twice, Mallori Wienke added two assists, and Medina won a league game for the first time in two years, downing the Lady Rams by a 3-1 margin.
From Young’s perspective, the difference came in sheer matter of will.
“They were killing each other out there, trying to score goals,” Young said. “They all just really wanted it.”
Hughes demonstrated the team’s aggressive mindset right out of the gate, scoring an unassisted goal just minutes into the game to give Medina its first lead of the season. With the team amped up in front of a vocal homecoming crowd, Wienke fed Jayne Kuhn for a score at the 20:33 mark to extend the lead to 2-0.
Despite spotty weather that provided on-and-off rain showers throughout the game, the Lady Mustangs maintained the aggression throughout the first half, capped off by Hughes’ second goal of the game, on an assist from Wienke, with just over two minutes left in the half.
With a 3-0 lead at the intermission, the Lady Mustangs were in great spirits as they celebrated their senior players at halftime, with each senior being walked to midfield by her parents. Each player was introduced with a short narrative that described their favorite parts of being on the team (many cited a ‘Never Have I Ever’ game), and everyone credited Young, the 27th-year head coach, for playing in instrumental role in the enjoyment. The Lady Mustangs even surprised Young during the ceremony with a sneak attack of sorts, as the girls timed themselves appropriately and raced in for a group hug.
From there, it was just a matter of playing strong defense and closing out the victory, and the Lady Mustangs did just that despite a few tense moments near the front of the net. Roy-Hart had numerous scoring opportunities on penalty corners, and Roy-Hart’s Madison Dent did manage to find the net at the 25:05 mark, but that was all.
When the clock struck zero, Medina players raced around the field in celebration, hugging each other and slapping their sticks together. Even ten minutes after the customary handshake line between the two teams, a few Lady Mustangs remained on the turf — hugging their coach, screaming in joy and taking in the moment.
Quite a start to the homecoming weekend festivities.
“They all played hard, and they all played well,” Young said.