26 Aug National Champs
They did it! Villa Hockey 1st XI are National Champions winning the Federation Cup in the second period of extra time. What a champion team and so well deserved. Read more from the Coach….
Interview with Coach, Matt Ling
How has your season gone overall?
It has been a very successful season overall, winning the Porritt Cup, which is an early season knock out tournament, taking down Rangi in the Final. We then moved into the Championship, where we won 9 out of 10 games, with the sole loss to St Margarets 2-0 in the second round. We scored 35 goals and conceded just 7 in those 10 games. With this record we won the Championship by 3 points over St Margaret’s. This lead onto the finals series, where there was a last minute win against Christchurch Girls High in the semi final 3-2 and then defeating St Margaret’s again 1-0 in a intense final, which was well supported by a Villa crowd at Marist Park.
Overall a great season with 15 wins and 1 loss recorded heading into Federation Cup on the North Shore in Auckland.
Can you give me a summary of the girls performance at fed cup leading up to the big win?
Federation Cup started on the Monday with 2 games against Tauranga Girls High School, it was a nervous start being down 1-0 in the pouring rain, but we regrouped to score a 3-1 win against a gritty opponent on a slippery turf! Onto the afternoon game, against Nelson College for Girls. Back on Miller 3, I thought the girls would lift, but a disappointment performance followed. The score was 6-0 however the performance was far from perfect, an honesty session followed that night heading into the next day against Palmerston North Girls High School.
Probably our most complete performance of the week followed in this game coming away with a 5-3 win against PNGHS, who were a very good side. Racing out of the blocks early to be 2-0 up, and 3-1 at half time. 2 more goals early in the second half killed the game off. This put us into the top 16 and the coach a bit happier!
Queen Margaret College was our next game, they were the Wellington/Waiarapa Champions, so again a physical game. We came out with a good solid 4-1 win, again scoring early. In the quarter finals, we had a tight first half, scoring right on half time to go into the break 1-0. We ran away with it, with superior fitness in the second half to come away comfortably 4-0 at full time.
Semi finals day, there were a few more nerves as the business end of the week was upon us. Having been knocked out at this stage last year, there was extra incentive to do well and go one better and make the final. A good first half, followed, where we scored some great goals and had everything under control at 3-1 at half time. 10 minutes of madness after half time and the scores were locked up 3-3. The 2nd XI turned up at half time from their tournament and the noise increased 10 fold! We scored again but let them back in 2 min later to go into full time at 4-4. In the first period of drop off 9 v 9 and no goal keepers, a moment of brilliance sealed the game and we were into the final against our friends St Cuthberts College!
Final against St Cuthbert’s was a tight and tense affair, we scored off a corner with about 10 to go to half time to go into the break 1-0 ahead. Having conceded straight after half time the day before in the semi, we warned the girls to be vigilant and make sure we don’t concede again, but unfortunately, St Cuthbert’s equalised 5 minutes into the half. The stalemate continued to full time. 1-1 at full time and again into 9 v 9 drop off. Another 5 minutes passed still with no score, so we went to 7 v 7. St Cuthbert’s had a good chance to score, which kicked us into gear, moving the ball through the midfield from the start off and heading down the baseline to score the winner and the rest is history!
How did you feel as a coach winning the national title?
It makes me incredibly proud to coach this team to the Federation Cup title. I’m just so stoked for the girls, that all their hard work, not only this year, but in previous years has come to fruition. I’ve been with Villa for 9 years now and to see the growth of hockey at the school is very satisfying and I’m looking forward for it to hopefully keep growing and developing.
What makes this a winning team?
This team has learnt how to win over the last few years, after being so close to winning the title over the last 5 years. The last 5 years we have had results of 5th, 3rd, 5th, 4th and now 1st. We have grown together and taken the heartbreak of previous years to come back strong and determined this year. I think also the success of the 2nd XI over the last few years has also had a big bearing on bringing new players in year to year. Having the 2nd XI go to tournament over the last few years has giving the new players greater experiences and pressure situations, so they can thrive when their time comes into the 1st XI.
Acknowledgements needs to be made to Jo Anderson, our Manager, for all the work that she has done. Miss Trillo for all the video and scouting work, as well as the being the teacher –in- charge. We have awesome supporters from the 2nd XI, the Villa community, old girls and of course the parents have been massive. Lastly the 6 leavers, Jessie Anderson, Georgie Mackay-Stewart, Maddie Wotton, Jess Baker, Sarah Hay and Captain Claire Bamford, for their contributions over their years playing at Villa.