It wasn’t exactly pretty, but the job got done.
Olivia Diebel’s hat-trick set the tone as Akron blanked Kenmore, 6-0, in Section VI field hockey that was played at Kenmore East High School on Thursday.
With the victory the defending Section VI Class C champion Tigers improved to 3-0 on the young season.
“We just never stop trying, even when things start falling apart; we just keep each other going,” said Diebel.
The DevilDogs managed to hang in for the first half as Diebel’s game winner didn’t come until just inside the two minute mark of the first half.
Credit for the close first half goes to Kenmore goalie Hope Falzone who turned away 12 of the 13 shots that she faced.
But when the second half arrived so did the Akron offense; everything unraveled for Kenmore.
The defense faltered under the weight of the Tigers’ onslaught which left Falzone to fend for herself during a flurry of the 21 shots on goal that she faced.
“I thought we played very strong in the first half. They weren’t on the board until 1:43 to go in the first half,” said Kenmore coach Linda Groff.
“We thought that they were just gonna stop after that… I know how (Akron coach) Mary (Borden) is as a coach and she does not have her team stop. It does not matter. Once Akron put in that second goal I knew we were gonna have a mental collapse. I knew it was gonna go right down hill so I just tried stay positive.”
Goals by Janelle Kieffer and Alexis Bell in the first 13 minutes gave Akron the 3-0 lead.
Lydia Blueye made it 5-0 off of a slick pass by Alexis Bell.
Diebel netted the fourth and sixth goals for her team. But Olivia Diebel has done much more than just score goals. She’s been the force that has brought them together.
“She’s special,” Akron coach Mary Borden said with a smile. “She’s special to watch. She’s special to coach and she is a special kind of leader.”
A special leader is exactly what this young Tiger squad needs as eight of the 14 girls on the roster are in either eighth or ninth grade.
Diebel takes the role of team leader to heart because she knows full well that so many young eyes are looking to her for guidance.
“It’s a lot to take in at first,” Diebel said. “But just thinking about how far they’ll come and you’re a big factor in helping them get there just really helps you slow down and remember they don’t know everything. So it helps me to know what to talk to them about.”
Borden said that Diebel’s level of confidence gives everyone a sense of swag and belief they can win. But at the same time she carries herself with a humbleness that lets girls know she is approachable and always ready to help.
“That’s the critical piece,” said Borden. “If you didn’t have a great role model at the helm they wouldn’t believe they could or should upgrade as fast as they did.”
Borden continued by saying Diebel knows that while a lot is riding on her shoulders she never forgets to project the team first mantra.
“She is one of the most beautiful, humble young ladies that I have ever coached,” said Borden.