CONTRIBUTED BY JADE KWITKIWSKI
Last year they won zero games and scored a single goal. This year they scored 16 goals and had a shot at the playoffs. And it was only the beginning.
The girls varsity field hockey team improved immensely since last year. They developed confidence in their ability to win, improved their skills and started building the field hockey program up.
The team this year had a consistent performance, which girls varsity field hockey coach Emily Hunt says is a big step up from last year’s team.
“Our improvement from last year to this year is like basically night and day,” Hunt said. “We are so much better. We are competing; we’re in just about every game.”
According to Hunt, the dedication to winning has made all the difference.
“This year has been a huge step forward because now the girls are learning how to win,” Hunt said. “And that desire to win, that commitment to winning, is actually there. Our junior varsity field hockey team has only lost one game. So I want that tradition, that winning culture, to keep building and continue over so that we can become a tournament team and start making a run and a name for field hockey.”
Junior Alex Murray said that the team’s improvements in skill and teamwork have contributed to this desire to win.
“I think we want to win more because we know we can,” Murray said. “So we have that drive.”
Hunt said much of the team’s new success can be attributed to their offseason training and improvement in their skills.
“The girls are starting to love the game and they are putting in the work in the offseason,” Hunt said. “We had a lot of girls that went to camps and clinics and that played indoor field hockey. I think because of their commitment, they’re playing more. It’s shown in the season.”
In the long term, the team plans to make field hockey a sport that people can start from a younger age. Hunt believes that the lack of experience prior to freshman year hurts the team.
“I think that’s the biggest weakness and the biggest challenge that we’re facing within our league because we are one of the only teams that doesn’t have a youth program,” Hunt said. “And now as a head coach, I’m working to develop a youth program.”
Junior Dorothy Smith said a youth program that allows middle schoolers to play field hockey would be interesting to a lot of girls.
“There’s not a ton of opportunities to play field hockey before high school, but if there were I think I would have wanted to join them,” Smith said.
Hunt said that, in the future, the girls hope to make the state playoffs.
“A good goal to start with is getting into the tournament,” Hunt said.
The team wants to make field hockey into a bigger sport at the high school, and Hunt said that they have already come a long way.
“It just seemed like field hockey was really down and nobody cared about it, and I didn’t think that was right because it’s such an amazing sport,” Hunt said. “Once I started working with the girls, I found out how much they loved it too. We just want to build it up into a well-respected sport around the high school, and I feel like we’re already doing that.”