Manual field hockey makes history, captures state title

On October 27, 2011, the Manual girls’ field hockey team became the first public school to win the state championship since 1994. The field hockey team beat powerhouse Sacred Heart 2-1, upsetting what would have been Sacred Heart’s third straight victory. 

Thousands of parents and students showed up at the game to support the team. Forward Renee Dufour (10), who scored the game-winning goal, thought the support made a big difference.

“When they scored on us, everyone was still cheering, which pumped us up and made us want to win it even more… not just for the team, but for the whole school,” she said. 

The team’s success avenged an earlier 8-3 loss to Sacred Heart. Goalkeeper Rebecca Woodburn (11) attributed the win to several factors.

“Sacred Heart overlooked us, and we just wanted it more than they did,” she said. “I think it was a combination of believing in ourselves and having not just our school but the whole city behind us.” In fact, several other schools throughout Louisville scouted Sacred Heart and gave tips to Manual’s team so it could improve its game strategy.

In order to compete with Sacred Heart, Manual’s players had to overcome their lack of experience. Only three members of the team overall are seniors, and three of the team’s starting players are sophomores.

Dufour, however, felt the team still had a fighting chance, even though so many of the players were young. “We’ve had many players on our team play in national tournaments, so we all knew what we had to do and we did it,” she said.

Several players on the team are still in shock from the game. “[The win] still hasn’t hit me, honestly, but it is just an unbelievable feeling,” Dufour said.

Joshua Bynum is a senior and a video editor for Redeye. He is also serves as assignment editor for Manual AM. He plays on the baseball team and intends to major in journalism.