Field hockey succeeds in field space battle



The girls varsity field hockey team has seen a lot of growth and success over the Fall season, most notably making playoffs for the first time since 2009. Here they celebrate after a game in Framingham.

New season. New team. Equal field space.

The girls varsity field hockey team made the playoffs for the first time since 2009, a goal they’ve had for more than a decade.

Captain and senior Alejandra Mineo said that achieving this goal was a huge accomplishment for the team.

“For the past years, the goals of our program have been mostly focused on growing and improving from a younger age, and I think this year we had a huge growth in confidence,” Mineo said. “For the first time, we were able to really believe we could beat the teams in our league. I think with taking it one game at a time and all our players having determination, we were able to achieve our goal of making playoffs.”

In addition to their accomplishment of making the playoffs, the girls had another victory this season. This is the first year the field hockey teams have gotten equal field space: exactly half of Downes Field. Both the JV and varsity field hockey teams share whatever space they are given at Downes. In past years, they have only had one third, and before that, only one quarter.

Emily Hunt, the field hockey coach and wellness teacher, said that she has fought for more field space over the years.

“When I first took over four years ago, we were told that we weren’t even going to have the turf. We then negotiated to have 25 percent of the turf for both varsity and JV, and football had the rest,” Hunt said.

Since then, Hunt has arranged to have half the field, which they’ve claimed for the first time this year. Hunt said this change has affected the team’s practices. She said it is still not enough space but said it is a big improvement from the past.

“It’s still a challenge to have two teams practice on only half of the field, but it’s a lot better than when it first started,” Hunt said.

Mineo said the equal field space has helped field hockey gain more attention and respect and has helped the program grow significantly.

“Over the years, we’ve been trying to prove ourselves to people who say that field hockey is not a sport, and I think we’ve made really great jumps from our seasons two years ago,” Mineo said.

In addition to the equal field space, the team has an almost new roster due to many graduating seniors. Senior Sophie Harris said the team has still been able to perform despite these changes.

“At first we were losing a bit, but now we’ve played a bunch of strong games in a row. Even if we don’t win a game, we always fight hard on the field and play well, so it’s been good,” Harris said.

Mineo said that this year has been more overwhelming for her academically, with much more school work than last year and college applications. She said she finds the field hockey community to be a positive support system.

“Now that we’re more than halfway through the season, we’ve all gotten to know each other really well. We’re like a big family,” Mineo said.

Hunt said that field hockey is more than just the sport. She said the community of the team is what is ultimately important.

“​They’re not going to remember wins and losses and specific game moments, but I want them to remember the friendships they made, the bonds they had and the positive life experience,” Hunt said.

The team’s determination and grit is reflected in Hunt’s motto: “She who has the will to win will not be beaten.” Hunt said her motto can be seen in the team’s determination and spirit.

“It’s that desire and that will that you will not accept defeat,” Hunt said. “You’re going to keep getting up no matter how many times you get knocked down and keep on trying.”