Forest Park forwards unite for record-setting win


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MANASSAS Janelle Richardson and Lindsey Horne like to begin every Forest Park field hockey match by smacking their sticks together.

The pregame ritual is a small symbol of solidarity and friendship a silent bond that keeps them connected on the field.

“I think it started last season,” Horne explained. “Our forwards are really close.”

That’s because there’s only three of them.

Richardson, Horne and Angela Hubley are the Bruins’ equivalent of the Ya -Ya Sisterhood. They are the Forest Park attack line and their goal is to lead the team to the Northwest Region Tournament for the first time in school history.

“We work hard in practice,” Horne said. “The offense really wants it to pay off.”

While qualifying for regionals will ultimately require coming up with the program’s first victory over two-time defending Cardinal District champion Woodbridge, the Bruins are satisfied now with reaching tinier but no less significant milestones like Wednesday’s 7-0 victory at Osbourn Park.

“This really raises our self esteem,” Horne said following a record-setting performance by the Bruins’ offense.

Typically, the sisterhood’s objective is for one of the three forwards to score a goal. It doesn’t always work out that way, but last night Richardson, Horne and Hubley combined for the most goals the Bruins have ever scored in a game.

“It was nice to give our defense a break,” Richardson said after Forest Park improved to 2-7 overall with its second win of the season over the Yellow Jackets.

“After halftime our goal was to score three more goals,” Horne said.

Until Wednesday, the Bruins hadn’t scored more than two goals in a game this season. They had only four combined in eight previous matches, but something clicked on the football field at Osbourn Park.

In addition to nine penalty corners, Forest Park took a season-high 21 shots on goal.

“We’ve been working on passing patterns in practice,” Horne explained.

Although their record might suggest otherwise, the Bruins also benefited from playing a brutal early-season schedule that included a trip to the Herndon Invitational. Forest Park came to town with much more experience than the host Yellow Jackets, who are still searching for their first victory.

Osbourn Park attempted four shots on goal, but Bruins keeper Amanda Meiklejohn kicked each one out of harm’s way to earn her second shutout.

The Bruins dominated play most of the night with defender Ayesha Johnson initiating the transition. Even after losing senior link Celeste Otsuka early in the first half, Forest Park played its most inspired match of the season.

Otsuka was hit in the face with a stick and suffered a cut on her chin that will probably require stitches. Bruins coach Julie McClellan sent Anna Fowler onto the field as a replacement and the sophomore wound up with an assist on one of Richardson’s three goals.

Richardson doubled her season goal total to six by scoring twice in the first half and once in the second half. She also had one assist.

Horne also finished with three goals and one assist for the Bruins. Hubley scored her first goal of the year and assisted on a Horner penalty corner.

“Our passing was a lot better and we had better communication,” Richardson said. “We just worked excellently together as a team.”

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