Edison vs. Huntington Beach: A fierce field hockey rivalry


(Editor's note: Edison won Tuesday's game, 1-0. For details, click here.)

Two Huntington Beach girls field hockey heavyweights square off Tuesday with first place in the Sunset League on the line.

Huntington Beach (6-1-1) will host Edison (6-0-2) on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. The schools, just 3 miles apart, met in the CIF Southern Section championship last year, which Edison won, 4-0, and have split two matchups this year.

The two teams are used to piling on goals against most opponents, but they encounter a different type of challenge when they face each other. Each game this season has been decided by a single goal.

“It’s always a good rivalry,” said Huntington Beach coach Cathy Van Doornum. “I think they probably are obviously one of the better teams, and they’re probably more skilled than most of the teams in the league. They get good athletes, and they play a fast, quick game. … We have to just adjust to the speed of the game.”

This season, Huntington Beach defeated Edison, 1-0, in a nonleague game in the O.C. Invitational Tournament. During league play, it was Edison with the 1-0 victory, decided in sudden-death overtime.

Junior Hailey Babbitt scored the overtime goal for the Chargers with senior Ava Kime assisting.

“It was a good play on Edison’s part, but it could have been prevented,” said Huntington Beach senior Melissa Paniz.

Senior Emma Ziegler scored the lone goal in the Oilers' tournament victory.

Both teams stressed a small margin of error in these close games.

“Any one thing can be the difference in the game: one touch, one post goal, one good defensive play, one deflection,” Van Doornum said.

Each side also underlined the importance of gaining an edge in regulation and avoiding sudden-death overtime.

“You want to take care of things in regulation,” said Edison coach Becca Antongiorgi. “Because even if you dominate (possession) … they get one fast break (in overtime), and it’s over.”

The Chargers currently sit atop the league, but with a win Tuesday, the Oilers would move into first. However there is one more prominent team in the league contending for the top seed — a team that the Oilers still have left on the schedule.

Newport Harbor (5-0-3) hosts Marina on Tuesday and plays at Huntington Beach on Friday in the last game of the season. In one previous league matchup the two teams tied 0-0.

Edison is coming off a match against Newport Harbor last Friday in which the teams tied, 2-2. Their earlier league matchup was a 0-0 tie.

With a win against the Oilers Tuesday and a win against Fountain Valley — whom Edison has defeated 4-0 and 3-0 — on Friday, the Chargers can clinch the top seed in the playoffs.

Edison, which went undefeated en route to a championship last year, has lost two nonleague games this year. One against Huntington Beach and one against Newport Harbor.

“(Those) were good games in terms of us realizing that we are beatable,” Antongiorgi said.

“We need to adjust in the face of a challenge and play smarter, not just always bank on being faster but really valuing possession and all the small ticky-tack technique things that coaches get to nag at the kids about.”

After losing the latest matchup, the Oilers are looking to make the proper adjustments for Tuesday’s game. Van Doornum and her players agree that it starts with finishing scoring opportunities, something they didn’t do in the last game.

“Our defense is pretty strong, our goalie’s awesome, so I think as long as we hold strong there and capitalize on our scoring opportunities, it’ll look good,” said Oilers senior Makenna Wigney.

The entire Oilers team took the trip across town to watch Newport Harbor and Edison square off, something Antongiorgi said was an unusual occurrence in the league.

“Last year they beat us in the playoffs, so this year we’re definitely looking to have an answer,” Paniz said in an earlier interview.

The Oilers expect strong competition from Edison, especially in a game with so much on the line.

“Edison always comes out full force,” said Wigney. “We have to win to be first in league.”

Likewise, Antongiorgi expects nothing less than full force from the Oilers.

“Losing 1-0 in a sudden-death overtime against someone, I think that’s certainly motivating for them. … I expect them to be amped.”

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