Leesburg, Va. — From the first whistle to the last, the Riverside High School field hockey team was in complete control. That isn’t new for the Rams. Over the past four seasons, the Rams have compiled a 58-7 record, including trips to two state tournaments, and much of Riverside’s success is due to the play of this year’s senior class.
Led by seniors Gurnoor Dhaliwal, Abbey Drake, Kellen Richbourg, and Eva Yacura, the Rams celebrated their senior night in grand fashion with a 10-0 shutout win over Potomac Falls on March 22 in Leesburg.
Let’s take a look at what this senior class has accomplished. In 2017, the Rams finished 14-4, falling in a region semifinal. In 2018, the Rams finished 18-2, falling in a state quarterfinal. And in 2019, the Rams finished 20-1, falling in a state semifinal. Every season this group has been on the field, the Rams have won more games than the previous season and have made it at least one step further in the playoffs. But before they graduate this spring, the Class of 2021 has some unfinished business.
This year isn’t like the rest. Riverside—like everyone else in the VHSL—is playing field hockey in the spring instead of the fall, under new health precautions brought about because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So while winning a state championship is in the back of their minds, the Rams are just happy to have a season.
“We’re walking on eggshells,” Riverside head coach Amy Oldknow said. “But it means everything to be out here. It gives us a sense of normalcy which is what we’ve been missing.”
With that sense of normalcy, the Rams have quickly returned to midseason form as Dhaliwal, Richbourg, and Yacura combined for five goals in their senior night win while sophomores Grace Greason and Audrey Ziff each added a goal and junior Lydia Oldknow rounded out the scoring with a hat trick.
“The seniors really control everything and set it up for the other players,” Coach Oldknow said. “It’s also nice that we have some younger depth that we will be able to continue to work with moving forward.”
As the Rams continue moving forward this season with their eyes on the ultimate prize, they’re also remembering to cherish each moment and celebrate their seniors every chance they get.
“From day one as freshmen, these seniors have been leaders on and off the field,” Coach Oldknow said. “They have wonderful attitudes. They’re great with the underclassmen. Their skill, obviously, is fantastic. Our program is certainly going to be different when they leave. It just makes us so happy being at practice and games with each other for one final season.”