Contributed by Clemmie Hawkins
Proud and successful, the girls field hockey team came off the Newton North field with big smiles on their faces. However, there is more to success than meets the eye. The girls have worked long and hard to build the program to where it is today.
The field hockey team continued playing despite the limitations of COVID-19. This season, they not only improved their skills but worked to popularize the sport at the high school.
Varsity coach Emily Hunt said that the girls’ hard work in progressing the field hockey program can be seen on the field this year.
“We’re trying to build [field hockey] into a successful, winning program. This year has definitely been another step in the right direction,” Hunt said. “We‘re not just happy to be in a game but actually going for those wins and scoring goals.”
To achieve progress in becoming a more offensive team, the girls participate in scrimmages with each other to promote competitive behavior.
“We had a competition between the forwards and the midfielders. It started off a little slow and friendly. After a few minutes, that competitive, feisty nature came out,” Hunt said.
Field hockey is not a popular sport because it doesn’t have a Brookline youth program. In order to change this, the field hockey players work with their friends and families to advertise their sport to the community.
Sophomore and JV team member Maya Shaw knows how effective these methods can be, especially through fundraising.
“It was for funds for the team, but it also was really good at getting the word out,” Shaw said.
Along with advertising, the girls have worked hard to let their new skills speak for themselves. Hunt said they practice drills to both build their offensive techniques and solidify their defense.
“We focus on their stick skills and then we usually go right into shooting and scoring, practicing not only drives but also using legs and having nice strong sweeps and push passes,” Hunt said.
Hunt said that another way the team members and coaches work to improve the program is through communication and team bonding.
“One of my goals for the program is to build a little field hockey family. I’ve been very lucky to work with some awesome young ladies and athletes, and we’ve done that. We’re off to a great start. We are very close as a team,” Hunt said.
According to senior and captain Clementine Hawkins, it is evident that their hard work towards popularizing the program is starting to pay off. There was an encouraging turnout at the Nov. 8 game versus Natick.
“A bunch of people came to watch and it was really nice. There were a lot of seniors and people’s families. It was beautiful,“ Hawkins said.
Hunt knows that the leadership and legacy built up by the seniors has and will continue to be beneficial to the growth of the program. As over half of the team is made up of seniors this year, it is up to the remaining athletes to carry the torch of growth and success throughout the seasons.
“We’ve built up this legacy that we’re trying to set and meet because we have some really great leaders,” Hunt said. “So the juniors, sophomores and freshmen are getting to see that from a great group of seniors.”