Fox Chapel field hockey prepares for first postseason appearance since 2017

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Saturday, October 24, 2020 | 11:01 AM


For the first time since its undefeated regular season in 2017, the Fox Chapel field hockey team is headed back to the WPIAL playoffs.

Since that storied season three years ago, when the Foxes won all 12 of their regular-season games and then dropped a 1-0 contest to North Allegheny in the first round of the playoffs, the Foxes have been building up for another solid run.

“This has been one of our better seasons,” coach Emily Humiston said. “This is my third year with the team and the coaching that my dad and I have done and the ideas that we have come up with and the ideas the girls have come up with on their own has been really helpful as well. I think it’s put forth our best season so far.”

Just a year ago, the Foxes went 2-6 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

But this fall, led by a solid group of seniors, including leading goal scorer Lily Zaltman who has scored 17 of Fox Chapel’s 41 goals, the Foxes finished the regular season with an overall record of 6-5-1 and a section record of 6-3-1. They lost two games to Penn Trafford and one each to Shady Side Academy, North Allegheny, and Upper St. Clair. The Foxes also came away with two wins apiece over Woodland Hills, Oakland Catholic, and Latrobe.

Because they were tight games, each being decided by one goal, Humiston thought the wins over Latrobe and their overtime loss to North Allegheny were some of their top games of the season.

“We have had some close games every time we play Latrobe. Things go back and forth, normally,” Humiston said. “But luckily we’ve been able to push through and come out on top against them this season, but it’s always a one-goal difference. So I think those are pretty big wins for us.”

With the amount of talent Humiston had coming back this, the third-year coach thought the Foxes might have a chance to be successful this year.

“We lost a handful of girls the past few years, but I think coming into this year, we kept a lot of starters and had a lot of girls step up in a surprising way that we might have not seen coming,” Humiston said. “After the first game or so, we realized we were pretty talented and we were able to run with that.”

In their first two games, the Foxes scored a combined 18 goals and did not allow any. They also scored three or more goals in five of their six wins. Their final win of the season, a 2-1 decision over Latrobe, was the only win they did not score three goals or more.

Humiston said attributed her team’s success to a few things.

“It’s been a combination of the girls’ attitudes along with our girls’ abilities to adapt and try to new things,” Humiston said. “We are pretty adventurous in terms of strategy, and the girls have also shown tremendous heart and spirit in games and practices. I think you can really see their committed effort. We are hoping that we can keep that moving forward and these girls are turning that into the culture of this program. I’m excited to see that blossom in the coming years as well.”

Now the Foxes will prepare for the playoffs, and with teams like Penn Trafford, which has won four straight WPIAL titles, in their section, they know it is not going to be easy.

“I know it’s going to take a lot of discipline,” Humiston said. “I know the top four teams are good teams and none of them are an easy team to play. No one has an easy win going into these playoffs.”

“So, I think it’s going to come down to the team who wants it more and the team that is more disciplined on the field.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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