Mim Ryan knows a goal scorer when she sees one and that’s a good thing for her Timberlane field hockey team.
Ultimately, it might also be the best thing for Owl senior Masha Lange, who Ryan switched from midfield to forward as a junior.
“She’s always had the ability to score, but her first two years I had other scorers and I needed her at midfield,” said Ryan, who has a 114-44-7 record in 10 years at Timberlane. “But last year, I decided we needed more umph in our offense, so I moved her.”
The move has worked wonders. After scoring seven goals as a junior, Lange has taken off this year. Through 14 games, she has scored an astonishing 18 goals, which is more than any Owl has scored in Ryan’s tenure at Timberlane and may lead the state.
“She’s playing with more confidence this year and she can do more with the ball,” said Ryan. “Plus, she’s getting the ball more in the right spot. She’s working well with Courtney Sickel and Jenn Trodella.”
Like a running back in football who credits his offensive line, Lange gives plaudits to her teammates while saying that the key to scoring goals in field hockey are “definitely being aggressive and taking quick shots.
“I have good defense behind me and that makes a big difference,” said Lange. “I’m getting the ball in the circle more.”
Lange didn’t mind playing in the midfield, but she admits that she loves trying to put points on the board.
“There’s not as much action at forward (as midfield) but when you get the ball, it’s a lot of fun trying to score,” she said. “I set a goal of scoring one goal a game and it’s working out.”
What’s impressed Ryan as much as the goal total is the timing of Lange’s goals.
“She’s getting quality goals, when we need them, like when she got three goals against Exeter,” said Ryan. “It’s not like she’s padding her total against the lesser teams. She’s getting important goals.”
Those goals, along with a staunch defense, help explain why the Owls bring an 11-2-1 record into the tournament, which is quite the turnaround after last year’s disappointing 6-8-1 mark.
It’s also forced Lange to reassess her collegiate future a bit. Primarily thought of as a softball player when she entered high school, and she’s a two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star in that sport, she is now pondering a longer future in field hockey than originally planned.
“Softball is still my favorite sport but I may do both in college,” she said. “It depends on what schools have to offer me.”
With an interest in becoming a veterinary assistant, Lange is currently considering the University of Bridgeport, Plymouth State, Colby-Sawyer and the University of New England as well as URI (for softball only).
“She definitely has the ability to play in college,” said Ryan. “She can score.”
Goals on the rise Masha Lange's goal production at Timberlane the last three years: 2010 -- 3 2011 -- 7 2012 (through 14 games) -- 18