Small Roster, Stiff Competition Complicate Field Hockey Season

This year’s girls field hockey team consists of players with significant experience in the sport, but a small roster has created challenges in the new season. Among the team’s goals is to focus on furthering their already strong teamwork and solid individual backgrounds in order to win games in the new league.
“In many ways the teams are stronger this year because many of our players are playing club field hockey in the off-season,” Head Coach Mary Donahue said. “We have a number of players with a much better grasp of the game.”
Despite the increase in skill and hard work, the team has been unable to gain a victory,  mainly due to their small roster of only 14 players and 1 goalkeeper, 3 players less than a typical team.
“Since there are often a couple people absent or injured, our subs are very minimal and we often start to get tired toward the end of games,” junior Anneliese Gallagher said. “Our coach has tried to work with us on quick passes rather than dribbling down the field, because that way no one has to do too much running, and we don’t get as tired.”
Many of the team’s losses have been a one-point difference, which has only encouraged the players to push for an improvement in their performance levels.
“We are not finishing, we are not scoring goals,” Donahue said. “That’s what we need to work on now. We have lost at least four one-goal games that we should have won. The team and I are frustrated by that and hope to turn it around…by scoring early and often.”
Still, the Lady Eagles have been enthusiastic. They remain hopeful for the remainder of the season as they look forward to victories in future games.
“Obviously it’s a little bit discouraging to lose, but we use every game as a learning experience,” junior Anneliese Gallagher said. “If we mess up any particular skill in a game, we spend the next practice just working on reinforcing that skill. I think losses have helped us to grow and get better as a team, although we do sometimes feel discouraged.”
This far into the season, Donahue is focusing on the development of the team’s field hockey knowledge and experience. She hasn’t made any changes in its training or playing techniques, instead choosing to focus on the basics of the game.
“She’s targeting each of the skills that we need to work on during practice, so we’ll have an offensive practice or a defensive practice, but she always throws in the skills that people want to work on and what she sees,” junior Emily Webb said.
In spite of these setbacks, the field hockey team is looking forward to making improvements in games and claiming some victories.
“We definitely have the potential to win more games,” Anneliese said. “It’s just a matter of coming together as a team to make it happen.”