Leesburg, Va. — The Riverside High School field hockey team put all other teams on notice on September 4, while thoroughly defeating rival Heritage High School in every aspect of the game. The Rams easily won the contest by obtaining significantly more penalty corners, having significantly more shots on goal, and dominating the time of possession. The final score was 4-0, but, as hard as it is to believe against long-time Loudoun County stalwart Heritage, the score could have been worse.
This young Heritage team graduated seven seniors this past spring, including three VHSL 4A All-State players: first-teamer Josie Rossbach – who is now starting at center back at the University of Massachusetts – and second teamers Calli Henderson and Sydney Krieger. The Pride started six underclassmen on opening night.
It was a lot to expect for the Heritage team to come out and knock off the team that it had lost to twice, with its senior leaders, a season ago, particularly considering that the Riverside team did not graduate anyone this past spring.
While Riverside is also a relatively young team, Riverside’s trio of junior phenoms – Gurnoor Dhaliwal, Kellen Richbourg, and Eva Yacura – have started and played every game the last two seasons alongside senior captain Amelie Fieser. In 2018, Dhaliwal was named first team All-State, while Fieser and Yacura were named second team.
Yacura started the scoring off a hard shot from the right side of the circle that was deflected off of a Heritage player and up and over the goalie’s pads at the 21:40 mark of the first period. Riverside sophomore Lydia Oldknow scored the second goal 50 seconds later with a feed from Fieser, then Dhaliwal added the third goal at the halfway point of the first half on a feed from senior Jenna Greason. Heritage mostly contained Riverside for the remainder of the contest, except for a long-range pass from the 50 yard line into the circle by Yacura to Oldknow, resulting in a second goal for Oldknow near the midway point of the second half.
“It was important that the team come out strong and united,” Fieser said.
Despite this bump in the road for Heritage, the Pride (0-0, 0-1) are ready to learn and move forward and have high expectations this fall given their depth of talent. Heritage also benefits from the Riverside reclassifying up to the VHSL 5A this season.
Up next for the Rams (0-0, 2-0) is a September 9 contest with fellow undefeated team, Loudoun County, who beat Woodgrove handily on September 4.
“Teamwork. We work really well together as a team,” Fieser said. “We pass to open teammates, and our teammates get open for those passes.”