Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Sept. 23, 2015 — Standing firm against a tide

Monday, we wrote about a team in Columbia, Md., whose field hockey team lost a game by the score of 21-0. And we also remarked about how the victor in the contest came from a scant dozen miles away from the campus, and how the schools are worlds apart in how their female athletes are prepared for success.

The same day that game took place, featuring two more of the eight public high schools in the city, Atholton defeated Oakland Mills 11-0. But the story of that game was how Atholton outshot Oakland Mills 93-0, and how Oakland Mills goalkeeper Lizzie Yu made 82 saves in the game, setting a mark which, if certified, would be the all-time highest number of stops recorded in a single contest.

Let’s put that in perspective; the previous highest number of saves recorded in a game was 65 by Krisha Giammarco of Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic. We also believe that there was a mid-60s number of saves on the part of a goalie at Reisterstown Benjamin Franklin (Md.), but that was not verified.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get a little perspective here. We may never know the greatest number of saves by a scholastic field hockey goalie in a varsity game because of a number of factors. First of all, a coach and an athletic support staff wouldn’t want to publicize the fact that a goalie had to make that many saves in a single contest, much less in a season or a career.

Second, recordkeeping in many areas of the country is spotty and inconsistent, relying on student managers to look in a morass of sticks and shins to figure out how many times a shot was actually taken and repelled by the goalie’s feet or pads. I’ve hear talk at scorer’s tables crediting saves to goalies when shots are duffed and roll short of the goal cage, hit the post, or go wide.

A save, in the immortal words of long-time field hockey and lacrosse statistician and historian Chip Rogers, cannot be made if there is not a shot taken. This means that only shots stopped by the goalie can be counted as saves.

Third, goalkeepers have more opportunities to make saves because of the elimination of offside, the proliferation of artificial grass and artificial turf, and the continuing widening of the gulf between the haves and the have-nots in the sport the last two decades.

Think of it: for one team to be able to fire 93 shots on goal in 60 minutes would require a team to aim three shots at goal every two minutes. Allowing time for side-ins, penalty corners, and for the trot from the goal line back to the center after scoring, Atholton must have felt like it was on the training ground, they had so many shots on target.

But it’s not the first time Yu has made an extraordinary number of stops in a game this season; the junior had 41 stops against Ellicott City Marriott’s Ridge (Md.) in an 11-0 loss. The junior has plenty of experience in repelling or stopping objects being flung at her; she is a softball catcher as well as an ice hockey goalie.

We hope to be able to have more on this later in the season.



  Beth Yu wrote @

Hello, this is Lizzie’s Mom. Thank you for writing this article. I did not know that this website existed, because we are so new to field hockey.

Yes Lizzie has had a lot of saves so far, but I want to tell you about the rest of the team. Lizzie has been playing sports since she was 4 1/2. Lizzie and I love this team. Every single girl has played with dignity, heart, and passion in every game. They never give up. They display sportsmanship, that other teams in their situation should struggle with. They play until they are exhausted. In my opinion, this team has been improving almost every game, even though the stats do not show that.

We are struggling to figure out how to deal with this whole situation. Lizzie has a lot of saves, but that causes people to say, ” wow, that team/defense, must be bad”. Lizzie and I do not like hearing that. Keep in mind, most players had never played before they came to Oakland Mills. I do not think any of the six freshman have ever played before this year. All of the top four teams in the area have club players with many years of experience. Lizzie would like to play ice hockey, or field hockey in college, so publicizing her saves gives, her exposure, but it may make the rest of team feel bad.

  Al Mattei wrote @

Field hockey is one of those games where one player can make a tremendous difference in the fortunes of an entire team. But USA Field Hockey has developed so many of these youth players in the high-performance program that it is difficult for some school teams to compete.

Does Oakland Mills finish its season this week, by the way?

  Beth Yu wrote @

Thank you Al. There are two regular season games left next week. Hammond on the 20th, and Glenelg on the 22.

  Beth Yu wrote @

Hi Al, do you happen to know how many games Krisha played in, in 2005? The National Federation of State High School Associations says she is the national record holder at 508. Lizzie has 357, plus what ever the amount of saves was yesterday ( in 10 games). The second most saves in a season is 321 or something. I am trying to research it.

  Al Mattei wrote @

At the time, Pennsylvania teams played 20 games a season. I’m pretty sure she would have been in every game.

  Al Mattei wrote @

Thing is, the former GK at Maryland, Melissa Vassalotti, was also someone who got a lot of reps. Have a look at the Rebel Project when you have a chance.

  Beth Yu wrote @


  Beth Yu wrote @

What is Rebel Project. All I can find is something about columbine.

  Al Mattei wrote @

You may be clicking on a mobile device. Here’s the link.

  byu.1982 wrote @

Hi Al,   Wanted to let you know that Lizzie only had one 45 save game.  The other one was actually 41.  She also had 37 against Long Reach, but it was not put in the Howard County Times.

Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S® 6.

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