It was a victory with its roots in preseason workouts in the summer.
But it's also possible to trace Eastern's latest win in a state championship game in field hockey to the beginning of a
remarkable streak in 1999.
Eastern won its 19th consecutive Group 4 state title on Saturday, overwhelming familiar foe Bridgewater-Raritan by an 8-0
score on a brisk and sunny afternoon at Bordentown High School.
Seniors Jess Maute and Olivia Perrone set the tone with early goals and sophomore Kara Heck generated a hat trick for the
"There's always pressure on us every year coming into the state game," Perrone said. "But honestly, it just puts a fire
under our butts to just push harder and get the state title every year."
Eastern, which beat Bridgewater-Raritan in the state final for the 13th year in a row, advanced to the Tournament of
Champions as the top seed. The Vikings will open play Wednesday night at Rancocas Valley.
"I'm so proud of this team," said Eastern coach Danyle Heilig, who has led the Vikings through all 19 championship seasons. "This is a great group of girls and they really came out and played well in a big game."
Eastern dominated play with sharp stickwork, creating scoring chance after scoring chance with penalty corners.
"Coming together like this, honestly, it's the best feeling in the world," Perrone said. "Nothing can beat it. Nothing tops
it when everyone is connecting, everyone is working hard and putting goals in the back of the net."
Heilig was especially proud of the leadership of seniors such as Maute and Perrone and the play of younger athletes such as
Heck on the big stage.
"We have some sophomores, some younger kids, and they stepped up beautifully," Heilig said.
Maute opened the scoring with a goal off a scramble in front of the net with 17 minutes, 19 seconds remaining in the
Junior Maddie Guyer lifted a shot into the net off Maute's insert to make it 2-0, and then Perrone unleashed a blast that
nearly broke through the back of the net.
"Our team prepared really hard for this game," Perrone said. "It starts from the first day of preseason and we worked hard
all summer, all fall just to get here and win this trophy for the 19th year in a row."
Maute said the Vikings always are aware of the legacy of previous teams, which set the standard for one of the state's top
programs in any sport.
"It feels great this is my fourth year continuing the tradition," Maute said. "It's great just carrying it on, the legacy."
Eastern 3 5 — 8
Bridgewater-Raritan 0 0 — 0
Goals: E-Kara Heck 3, Jess Maute, Olivia Perrone, Maddie Guyer, Krystyna Hovell, Tara Somers.