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Archive for December 8, 2006

Dec. 8, 2006 — The assist mark has fallen

The end of the 2006 season saw Melissa Gonzalez and Katie O’Donnell finish in the Top 20 all-time in both goals and assists, the only times that feat has ever been recorded.

In 2007, they may have company.

Despite having her season cut to about a dozen games because of mononeucleoisis, Chantae Miller of Williamsville (N.Y.) North managed to amass 18 goals and 19 assists this past season. That gives her career totals of 107 goals and 98 assists.

The upshot: as a junior, Miller now holds the all-time record for assists in a field hockey career, previously held by Laree Beans of Emmaus (Pa.). Sometime in September 2007, she should become the first field hockey player ever to get 100 career assists, thereby becoming the only player in the recorded history of Federation field hockey to get 100 goals and 100 assists.

Now, she would need a monster season in order to approach Sharon Landau Berney’s all-time New York State and National Federation goal-scoring record of 174. But the thing is, from watching her in off-season tournaments, I think she enjoys setting up goals more than actually scoring them.

One thing to keep in mind is the fact that although the 100-assist mark in field hockey is a feat to be celebrated, there have been times when the assist was irrelevant in the sport.

Recall that the game of field hockey game to us from England, from a culture which celebrates the goal more than the building leading to it; listen to the public address system in any English Football Association match (what we call “soccer”) and you won’t hear any credit given for an assist.

Too, the official FIH matchsheet does not have a space for assists. And in some parts of the country, especially in Southern New Jersey, assists aren’t compiled by, or reported in, the local media.

It is possible that there have been high-school players, especially some of the high-flying teams from Centereach (N.Y.) in the late 70s and early 80s, who have had 100 or more assists in a career, but that information was never recorded anywhere.

So, as a public service to those who keep the scorebook at games, here’s some criteria for what constitutes an assist:

For the purposes of recordkeeping, an “assist” is defined as the act of making the final pass to a goal-scorer whether the pass improved the scorer’s position or not. Double-assists should only be awarded if:

i. a direct shot off a corner (in which the players making the insertion pass and the stick stop are given assists if the striker scores);

ii. a momentary deflection (accidental) or a touch pass (deliberate) from a teammmate leads to a goal; or

iii. the secondary assist was integral to the goal being scored (i.e., a deep pass leading to a successful 2-on-1 breakaway in which one subsequent pass led to the goal; a give-and-go would negate the secondary assist)

If a shot is saved by the goalie, deflects off a defender, or strikes the goal frame, then an offensive player collects the rebound and scores, the original shooter should not get the assist, no matter whether she is inside or outside the circle.

An “assist” is NOT awarded to any player in an alternating-corner post-overtime tiebreaker.