Smaller field hockey team looks to turn team chemistry into a winning record

Trish Reilly ’16 controls the ball in a match against Hamilton West High School on September 8. PHS went on to win the match 3–0. photo: Catherine Curran-Groome

Trish Reilly ’16 controls the ball in a match against Hamilton West High School on September 8. PHS went on to win the match 3–0. photo: Catherine Curran-Groome

As fall sports head into full swing, the girls field hockey team is looking forward to building upon the success it has had in the past. Having gone undefeated in its preseason, the team is hoping to continue this streak as the regular season progresses.

With only 15 field players, this year the team is much smaller than it has been in previous years. “[A smaller team] could be an issue if, for academic reasons, players can’t make certain games,” said Head Coach Heather Serverson. “If we get down to only two or three subs it may [get] difficult.”

However, while the smaller team makes it more likely to be low on subs some days, it has not created any complications so far.

“[Not having enough subs] has not been an issue yet because everyone is in great shape. Also, when there is less subbing it helps the team get into a groove and really work well together,” said Trish Reilly ’16.

Since the season has been running smoothly, the team is not nervous that the smaller numbers will cause extra difficulties. In fact, the players and coaches feel that having a smaller group is beneficial.

“[Having a smaller team] definitely raises the competition among the girls because everyone is working extra hard since they know they have a little more weight to carry on the team, and so far that has worked out really well,” said Co-Captain Campbell McDonald ’15. “The raised level of competition makes practices more intense, so we can be ready for games against really strong teams.”

Not only is the team small this year, but it is mostly composed of returning players, meaning that the majority of the girls are already very close and know how to work effectively with one another.

Co-Captain Julia Ditosto ’15 said, “Our team chemistry is very similar to how it was last year, so I think keeping [the team] small is very beneficial to us because we can start where we left off last season.”

“Some of the issues we had been working on last year, such as setting the tone right away in a game and making sure we score first, are already in [the players’] heads. They are already playing well together, so we should be able to treat this like it’s the middle of our season,” said Serverson.

The players have noticed other strengths in addition to their ability to gel on the field.

Ditosto said, “The skill level this year is very high. A lot of our players play [field hockey] outside of school as well, which has definitely helped our team improve.”

Serverson said some other strengths include a very strong forward line and midfield. With a strong team comes a determined mindset for the rest of the season, and the team aims to win the Mercer County Tournament and to go farther in the state tournament than it did last year. Furthermore, Reilly said that the team wants to beat its biggest rivals.

Serverson said, “[The team] is really solid. Any of the players could step out on that field and have a great game.”

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