WPIAL field hockey finals today at Fox Chapel
There’s an award that still hangs on the bulletin board in Maddy Lucas’ room.
Although it’s nothing more than a black paper airplane affixed to a paper plate, Lucas gazes at the keepsake to draw inspiration before every Fox Chapel field hockey game.
When Lucas was in seventh grade and a rookie on her middle school team, she was extremely shy, fearful to ask her older teammates for advice. But after that season, when Lucas discovered she had an innate goal-scoring touch, she was given the “Stealth Bomber” award — as the team’s silent assassin.
Lucas gained confidence from such an honor and realized that making the move from soccer to field hockey earlier that year might have been the right thing to do. She even started talking.
“That opened my eyes and made me think that maybe I should be more of an outgoing person,” Lucas said. “It helped me believe in myself.”
Now a junior at Fox Chapel, Lucas has been anything but quiet this fall. With 21 goals and 10 assists, Lucas is one of the primary reasons Fox Chapel will square off with North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA final at 8 tonight.
The championship game, which the Foxes reached in 2009 before losing in overtime to Peters Township, will be played at Fox Chapel and will be preceded by the Class AA title game, which pits Greensburg Central Catholic against Ellis School.
“Most of the best high school players like to have the ball … and she demands the ball,” said North Allegheny coach Jen Diaz, whose team went 10-0 in Section 1-AAA and didn’t give up a goal during section play.
When Fox Chapel has possession, Lucas prefers to stay between the penalty stroke line and the left post, her stick down and ready for any sort of deflection. Against Norwin last Wednesday, Lucas scored all three goals during a 3-0 semifinal victory, one on a nifty redirect from senior midfielder Ellen Grenen.
“She creates offense with her stick work,” said Fox Chapel coach Jen McCrady, whose team is 16-0-1 and has outscored its opponents, 52-4. “She can find the ball anywhere and puts it in with gusto.”
Outside of high school, Lucas plays club hockey with Team Golden Triangle and will shift indoors this winter — a second season practically required in other parts of the country, though somewhat rare in this area, with the sport still developing.
In the spring, Lucas will suit up for the girls lacrosse team at Fox Chapel. She also an accomplished pianist and sings in two school choirs — hardly the type of workload a former seventh-grade introvert would think to take on.
“Field hockey helped me come out of my shell,” Lucas said. “Since I started playing, that shyness went away.”
Then she laughed and added, “I guess I’m kind of making a name for myself.”
WPIAL field hockey finals
Today at Fox Chapel
» Class AA: Ellis School vs. Greensburg Central Catholic, 6 p.m.
» Class AAA: North Allegheny vs. Fox Chapel, 8 p.m.