PENNY HILL On a team that features a player that draws as much attention as Kate Walker does, sure it could be easy for Mount Pleasant senior captain Casey Wakai to get lost in the shuffle.
That probably won’t be much of an issue if she continues to have games like Wednesday afternoon’s Flight A battle against Charter School of Wilmington.
Wakai scored three goals in the second half, capping off her hat trick with seven seconds to go in the game, as the Green Knights moved to 6-0 on the season, blanking the Force 5-0.
“Casey is a Division I-level player who on most any other team would be the star,” Mount Pleasant head coach Pete Meisel said. “She’s a special player who can create and when people want to double down on Katie, Casey says ‘I’m your guy.’”
“Katie’s a great player, but we had to learn that whenever people focus on her, we have to be ready to make plays ourselves,” explained Wakai, who banged home three goals from in close at the 26:17, 23:49 and :07 marks of the second half. “We just have to go out there and get it done.”
And get it done the Green Knights did. After a first half that saw both teams have chances at the net but with no result, Walker weaved her way through the Charter defense three minutes into the second half and found Wakai on the left side all alone. Wakai stuffed the ball past Force goalie Henna Castle for the eventual game winner.
Mount (6-0 overall, 5-0 Flight A) poured it on from there, with Walker adding a goal to her three assists (she also helped on sophomore Elizabeth Soucy’s goal that made it 4-0). With the second half explosion, Mount Pleasant re-established their identity as a money team in the second half — for better or for worse.
“We’ve always been a second half team for as long as I’ve been here,” Wakai said. “It’s been a long week and we were sleeping in that first half, but we finally woke up.”
Defensively, the Green Knights have yet to allow a goal this season, thanks to an aggressive defense spearheaded by sophomore goalie Kelsey Eroh, who recorded 4 saves.
“[The shutouts] just happen,” Eroh said matter-of-factly. “My job is to direct my defense and just keep the ball out of the circle, pretty much.”
In their first Flight A season, the Green Knights seem to have adjusted well after winning the previous three Flight B championships.
“We’ve played Flight A teams on our schedule before,” Meisel said when asked if there was an adjustment period needed. “There are competitive teams in both Flight A and Flight B in field hockey.”
“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Wakai added. “It seems like we have tougher games in Flight A so far.”
Henna Castle registered a game-high five saves for Charter (1-4 overall, 1-2 Flight A).