Dramatic change drives HVHS to Premier Football title

Story courtesy of College Sport Media

Alyssha Eglinton hadn’t played goalkeeper for two years prior to last night’s Premier Girls Football final between Hutt Valley High School and Wellington East Girls’ College.

 

Following a tense and even battle in regulation time, Eglinton, typically an attacking midfielder, was asked by HVHS coach Mark Oates to project the HVHS goal during a penalty shootout.

 

“I was nervous,” Eglinton conceded

 

“The reason we made the switch was because Zara Bowen was fatigued. She’d just got back from a flight from Poland which got delayed in Dubai. I had to trust myself to step up.”

 

Step up Eglinton did. She took the first penalty shot and scored for HVHS with a powerful shot into the bottom right hand corner. The Year 11 then turned into a stingy shot blocker.

 

“They missed three times. The first miss hit the crossbar so I didn’t have to do anything. The next two shooters went right and I anticipated the right way,” Eglinton explained.

 

“When I watch a shooter take a penalty I look them in the eyes and I can generally tell which direction they are going to shoot by their stance.

 

“I try to make myself look big in goal. I stand still but have my arms out like a starfish.

 

“It’s pretty exciting and overwhelming how the final went. My family was there and they were going nuts.”

 

HVHS were warm favourites for the final having qualified unbeaten. However, Wellington East proved to be stubborn opponents.  Year 13 winger Zora Tavernet kept her cool.

 

“They had most of the possession and we had most of the chances so it was pretty even,” Tavernet said.

 

“I’ve been in the First XI for four years and in that time we’ve built a lot of trust within the squad. We know how each other plays and so we just had to be patient and have faith in each other.”

 

Tavernet was busy on the wing delivering threatening crosses and looking to create momentum against a side who didn’t concede an open field goal in their last four matches.

 

HVHS won the Premiership for the sixth time since 2000. In 2022 they won all eight matches and outscored opponents 24 goals to three.

 

In a fortnight HVHS will head to Nationals in Taupo seeking a top five finish.