Capital Hockey Senior Team Selection Good Reward For Sara Cooper Of WGC

Recent selection in the Capital Hockey women’s senior side for the upcoming National Hockey League tournament is terrific reward for the Wellington Girls’ College First XI hockey captain Sara Cooper.  Cooper, an attacking midfielder, was picked as the only school-aged player in the initial squad for the NHL tournament in September.

“I never had any expectations of making the team, but it was really exciting when I got named, “says Sara. “It will be great to get the opportunity to play against top players and Black Sticks.”

Even better is that the NHL tournament from 15-23 September is in Wellington. “It will be really cool having the home crowd, and friends and family there supporting me,” she enthuses.  Sara captained the Wellington U18s at the National U18 tournament in the first week of the school holidays.  Wellington didn’t have the best of tournaments in Dunedin, finishing eighth of eight teams. What went wrong?

“It was unfortunate that we had quite a tough pool that included Central, who went on to win the tournament, and a tough first couple of games. We drew with Auckland [2-2] which was really good, but then we didn’t quite perform in the shootout [lost 2-3], meaning we didn’t make the top four.”

The also lost to Southern in a shootout [1-3] after it was 0-0 at fulltime. In the final Central beat Canterbury 4-1 in a shootout after being 2-2 at fulltime.  It was also a youthful Capital U18 team. “It was a young team; a lot of players hadn’t quite had the experience of a national tournament. I’m eligible for the team again next year and several current year 12 players and one year 11 player in our current squad will be able to return as well.”

Following the school holiday break, the Premier 1 Girls competition resumed on Friday night and WGC won their sixth straight match in beating Paraparaumu College 7-0 to seal the top qualifier’s position for the upcoming playoff series with a round to spare.  WGC plays Samuel Marsden Collegiate in their last round match before the top four series starts on 10 August leading to the final a fortnight later.  Needless to say, Sara is pleased with how WGC’s form thus far. “It is probably the best position we have been in quite a few years. We don’t usually win against the Wairarapa teams and we had a big win [last term] against Wai-Coll 4-1 and we beat St Matthew’s 2-0.”  Year 12 player Jade Jones was Sara’s WGC teammate in the Capital U18 team at their tournament in Dunedin.

“We also had four WGC players in the Capital U18 Association team that won bronze in their tournament in Palmerston North.”

Last year WGC came third in Wellington Premier 1 behind St Matthew’s Collegiate and Queen Margaret College before competing in the Jenny Hair national tournament, two tiers below the tier 1 Federation Cup.  They made the quarter-finals of that tournament, but Sara says their goal this year is to finish in the top two in Carterton in Winter Tournament Week and make the top tier for 2019.

On a personal note, Sara is also hoping to make the Junior Black Sticks squad. “That gets named in a couple of weeks based on my performance at the U18 tournament.”  She also plays club hockey for Hutt United and once the hockey season is over she will turn her attention to schoolwork for a short while, looking to stay in Wellington next year and go to university while continuing her burgeoning hockey career.


Article courtesy of College Sport Media

Photo courtesy of Planet Hockey