The Woodinville Falcons descended upon San Diego last week for Spring Break. The team played three games, did team-bonding exercises and prepared mentally for the season’s second half. The coaches referred to it as a business trip, but they scheduled fun stuff too.
When it was all over, the Falcons returned home to Woodinville with two wins and nice memories.
“From a mental standpoint we’ve shown time and time again we can compete with anyone,” Woodinville head coach Pete Crowley said. “So we’re going to take the lessons we learned from the trip and bring them home for the games that truly matter so we finish the season strong.”
The Falcons opened up their trip with a 16-5 conquest of Patrick Henry High School. Thomas Pollon and Max Van Winkle led the way with three goals apiece. Mason Leet tallied four assists while Andrew Ng forced four turnovers. The lopsided score enabled every Woodinville kid to get playing time.
The next day, Woodinville knocked off Francis Parker High School 17-4. Mason Leet led the Falcon attack with three assists and two goals. Nine different players scored for Woodinville, including six with multiple goals. Freshman Dane Hunt secured a lifetime memory by scoring the first two goals of his prep career. And once again, Andrew Ng was The Man on defense, with four forced turnovers.
The looming finale was against powerhouse La Jolla. Woodinville came out strong and fought the host team toe-to-toe. But in the end, the Falcons fell 11-10. Kaden Fitzpatrick led the way with three goals while winning the majority of his face-offs. Max Van Winkle added 3 goals.
“We got a lot of high-fives from coaches and parents from La Jolla,” Crowley said. “They had a lot of nice things to say about our club.”
For all three games, the Falcons had the support of about 30 parents and fans who traveled with the team from Woodinville. “That was a super boost for the kids,” Crowley said.
Being able to escape the soggy Northwest for sunny San Diego had its advantages. The team toured the USS Midway and had a blast playing with the simulators.
Francis Parker High School also showed terrific hospitality, which included a performance by their student rock band.
When the Falcons were back at the team hotel, they prepared for the second half of the season. There was film study, team building exercises and one-on-one meetings with coaches.
“We revisited something that was done in years past when Andy [Farrington] was the head coach,” Crowley said. “It was something we got away from when Will [Corrigan] was coach. And that was taking advantage of the fact that we were in the hotel together. As coaches, we had the time to spend with the players [to focus on getting better].”
As of this writing, the Falcons are 7-3. They kick off the second half of the season with a game against Bothell this Tuesday. Crowley was asked for his team’s greatest area of focus.
“Right now it’s just the mental attitude,” he said. “We know that we can compete with anyone. And [we] know it’s a game of runs and we need to keep that mental fortitude. We’re getting into these big games and we know we can win it. But then something goes wrong and we just kind of accept it, so to speak. So we’re looking to change that mental attitude.”
Crowley cited four key players that will lead the way toward the postseason.
“Andrew Ng has played great and shown immense growth in leadership this season,” Crowley said. “Jake Baillie has stepped up as well as a vocal leader in the huddles. And Kaden Fitzpatrick has been a warrior on the field leading by example. So our triangle leadership there behind Abdullah [Bhurghi], our senior goalie. It has been amazing to see their growth this season.”