Hungry like a Wolfe

Diminutive Newport Harbor defender and midfielder has had huge impact on Sailors’ success this season.

October 09, 2009|By Barry Faulkner

Zoie Wolfe doesn’t wear her passion for field hockey on her sleeve. But, much to her chagrin, you can find a tangible trace of it right above one kneecap.

Call it a tenacity tattoo.

“I’ve had a black-and-blue bruise since my sophomore year,” the Newport Harbor High senior said of the remnants of a painful encounter with the hard plastic ball used in her favorite sport. “I think it’s fading, thankfully.”

Wolfe’s lingering bruise is likely to subside before her willingness to compete will ever wane. As a 5-foot-1 defender, who is a few dozen milkshakes shy of 100 pounds, Wolfe more than holds her own against bigger opponents, most of whom have a decent head of steam when she encounters them from her right defensive back position.


“She’s just a tiny bit of a thing,” Newport Harbor Coach Devon Kelly said of Wolfe, whose defensive dominance helped the Sailors shut out five opponents last week and allow just one goal in six games. “So, other teams usually are not expecting such a tough little athlete. But she’s always in the right place at the right time and her defensive stops are incredible, usually against players who are nearly twice her size. She’s extremely tenacious, she has great stick work, quickness and speed, and she is just showing incredible confidence right now. She’s playing lights out; just incredible hockey.”

Wolfe’s consistent skill at foiling opposing attackers, as well as her ability to initiate offense in her part-time duty as a midfielder, helped her share MVP honors in the IOC Invitational, completed Saturday at Marina High. Newport Harbor lost to Huntington Beach, 1-0, in the title game, but outscored four tournament opponents by a combined 8-1 margin.

In addition, Wolfe helped Harbor earn Sunset League victories over Westminster (Sept. 29) and Huntington Beach (Oct. 1), both shutouts.

Wolfe said she played defense and midfield throughout years of youth soccer and she plays a defensive wing position for the Sailors’ lacrosse team. But, her development as a defender in field hockey came from the suggestion of an older player.

“When I tried out as a freshman, a senior defender told me to try out for defense,” Wolfe said. “I don’t know why she said that, but I like being back on defense. I like working to try and clear the ball out and helping to save your team.”

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