History, or rather, herstory, was made Monday afternoon at Skate San Diego in National City when seven female skaters took the floor at the same time for a CIF-Metro Conference roller hockey game. The Bonita Vista Barons fielded four of the girls while the Hilltop Lancers sent out their full complement of three female players.
“Unfortunately, our girl goalie (Nicole Tran) was sick or we would have had an all-girl line-up out there, including the goalie,” BVHS coach Keith Quigley said.
The eventful occurrence took place at the start of the third period, with the Lancers holding an 8-2 lead.
Taking the floor for the Barons were Lizz Fulton, Cindy Flores, Elise Borbon and Carlisle Cummins.
Shannon Malone, Michelle Manibusan and April Burnett countered for Hilltop.
The girls, braced by one male player for Bonita Vista and two male players for the Lancers, played nearly four minutes against one another.
“About halfway through, it was like, hey, there are all these girls out here,” Cummins said with a laugh. “It was very exciting.”
Quigley said when he informed his female players they would be taking the floor to start the period, he saw some shocked faces. “It was like whoa!,” he said. “But then they got pumped up and excited.”
“It was kind of surprising,” Borbon said. “It was a little different than playing against guys. Guys aren’t as physical when playing against girls. I thought the girls were more physical.”
“Guys will usually not hit girls out there but girls will hit other girls,” said Fulton, the most experienced player of the bunch. “If I push someone and they fall down, there’s more room for me.”
Fulton took a cross-checking penalty 58 seconds into the period.
“It was really fun,” Flores said. “I didn’t expect that much intensity from them.”
The three Hilltop players had similar reactions.
“It was definitely fun — everyone got a good laugh out of it,” Malone said. “I knew this was the first year that so many girls had come out for the sport and it was cool to see so many girls out there at once.”
“It was neat playing against other girls and having fair competition,” Manibusan said.
The on-court match-up interestingly played up to the schools’ heated girls field hockey rivalry.
“They were rough on us,” Malone protested.
“I got a little mad playing against them,” Burnett said. “When we play them again, we’ll beat them again.”
Hilltop won the game, 12-4, which doubled as the Mesa League opener for both teams. None of the girls figured in the game scoring, though there were some classic moments.
“I got in the way of one of the Hilltop girls once and she said ‘Move!’ — it was like, excuse me, this is hockey,” Cummins said.
“I am finding that the girls are more talkative than the boys, they seem to want to communicate more,” Quigley said.
Fulton could barely stand up on skates last year and had a tendency to take out opposing players by inadvertently running into them. Not this year, however.
She’s earned regular shifts on the floor.
“She’s gained a lot of confidence and is now going after the play,” the BVHS coach said.
Pam Wiser is the only female coach in the 17-team conference. She is now an assistant coach with Southwest. Previously, she was the head coach at Chula Vista, which traditionally has had a sizable number of girls on its team.
The Spartans have four female players this season: Karli Bull, Lindsay Bull, Samantha Cota and Jojo Mendez.
“The No. 1 thing facing girls when playing a coed sport is fear and intimidation — someone has told them that they can’t do it,” Wiser said. “The biggest part is getting past all that trash talk.”
Wiser said stick-handling is the first hockey skill girls need to learn to be competitive in games.
“Skating is skating,” she said.
Nia Adams returns for Southwest this season and is seeing significant playing time with a boost in both skills and confidence. She is joined on the team by newcomers Sarah Herrera, Cassandra Palacios and Catherin Whitaker.
Adams scored a goal in a recent game against Castle Park.
“It’s great to see all these girls out there,” Wiser said. “This shows the sport is really growing.”
George Godinez led Hilltop in Monday’s game with five goals and two assists while Jeremiah Schultz had three goals and one assist, and Alfonso Arreguim, Nick Tesner and Luis Ontiveros each were credited with one goal and one assist. Kyle Heiskala had one goal while defenseman Tylor Spracklin had two assists. Freshman Jonathan O’Brien led the Barons with three goals and one assist. Felix Garcia had a goal and assist for Bonita Vista.
While BV’s Tran was unavailable for netminding duties on Monday, her brother, David Vera, donned the pads in her place.