Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Hammond looks to finish the job in 2023

Hammond’s Rafael Marquez Photo by Mike Maddock

Hammond’s Rafael Marquez Photo by Mike Maddock

The last two seasons have been great for the Hammond Skyhawks girls soccer program. The Skyhawks finished the 2021 season with a 15-7 record and followed it with a 14-8 record in 2022. Both seasons ended with state championship appearances.

That’s where both seasons fell short. The Skyhawks lost to Pinewood Prep both years, 3-2 and 4-nil, respectively.

Hammond returns 12 players off last year’s squad, six of those were on the 2021 team as well.

While the past two teams have reached the ultimate game, head coach Rafael Marquez has made some changes to this year’s squad.

“The past two years I feel like we’ve had such a large team,” Marquez said. “We had a lot of different personalities. This year we have a smaller team. I think this team is different because they are close. They eat together. They joke together. It’s like a family atmosphere. I don’t think I’ve seen a team so close in my seven years at Hammond.”

Briana Pinasco, Eliza Leavitt, Anna Katherine Adams, Logan Rivers, and Elle Brewer have emerged as leaders on the 18-player roster.

Newcomers Lily Balfour, Madeline Garland, and Brooks Brewer have also provided an impact.

So far, the Skyhawks are 6-4-1 following a 5-nil win over Cardinal Newman, in which Pinasco led the way with three goals.

“She’s been with the program since the eighth grade,” Marquez said. “I’ve seen an amazing amount of growth from her. I’ve been begging her to take a leadership role. She’s the best player on the team. Last year she started to put things together. This year she’s blossomed into a complete player.”

Marquez said the last two years have helped him continue an open channel of communication with his players, which is something his players have paid back with their success on the field.

After two years of coming close, one might think it’s championship or bust for Hammond. However, Marquez is focused on his team getting better one game at a time.

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