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Warhawks 'Flush It' During Key District Win

The start time of Wednesday’s Liberty District field hockey game between Madison and McLean was supposed to be 7:30 p.m. The Warhawks, however, decided to arrive fashionably late.

Facing a two-goal deficit before the contest was five minutes old, Madison rallied to score four straight times and walk away from its home field with a 4-2 win.

Nobody knew exactly what the starting point was for the turnaround, but it likely came some time after Coach Meghan Punaro elected to call a timeout when McLean’s Olivia Applewhite converted on the Highlanders’ third penalty corner and fourth shot of the game with 25 minutes 16 seconds left in the first half.

“We talked about how we can play rather than having the other team dictate [the pace of the game],” Punaro said.

Of course, who hasn’t heard that speech from a head coach before? The true story -- and the humorous anecdote -- of this one came from a comical phrase that a bunch of Madison’s players kept saying to one another.

“Flush It,” would be that phrase, according to junior Belle Tunstall.

“It’s the silliest thing to say, but it sets our mind and we’re ready to go,” said Tunstall, who scored a goal and an assist in the win.

Bathroom references aside, the term worked. Madison was able to erase goals from Johanna Morrison and Applewhite, as well as an early offensive onslaught from the Highlanders, who recorded eight shots in the opening half.

But when Madison’s Hallie Dominick scored with 14:06 left in the game, the Warhawks had completed the unlikely comeback.

Besides Tunstall and Dominick, Megan Bisson and Taylor Claybrook also scored for Madison, which improved to 6-3 overall, 1-1 in the Liberty District with the win. Now the Warhawks will face Westfield next Wednesday with a chance to prove themselves against one of the Northern Region’s top teams.

Because of players like Dominick, Claybrook, Aly Beden, Stephanie Buchko, Kelly Merchant, Lindsay Weber and Diana Marquez, Madison finds itself on the positive end of a three year transformation. In 2006, the team finished 5-6. A year later, the Warhawks were 5-10. And last year, Madison was 9-10 but still one of the Northern Region tournament’s final eight teams.

“We’ve started this year a lot better than we’ve started any of the others,” Punaro said. “We’ve tried to learn some things from each game.”

McLean, meanwhile, dropped to 6-, although the Highlanders handed Lake Braddock a 2-0 loss on Aug. 24 and only lost to W.T. Woodson by one goal on Aug. 31. But after the early offensive push, McLean wasn’t able to continue the pressure.

Tied at two with time winding down in the second half, Dominick controlled the ball and decided to send a drive toward the cage.

“It was kind of lucky,” Dominick said, “but it turned out good.”

By Jason Mackey  |  September 16, 2009; 10:45 PM ET
Categories:  AAA Liberty District , Field Hockey , Madison , McLean , Northern Region  
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