Sixth-seeded field hockey achieves second at MCT with sophomore-heavy roster

photo by Kate Liggio

With the field hockey regular over and the postseason underway, the PHS field hockey team reflects on the bonds it has made this year and its young roster to carry it as far as they’ve gone in the past. Previously, the team has made it to the late rounds of the Mercer County Tournament.

The team’s most recent regular season win against Stuart Country Day School puts them at 8–5–2, closing the gap to the Mercer County Tournament. However, Head Coach Heather Serverson is concerned more about the tournament itself, rather than the games leading up to it.

“Whether we win or lose [those games] is sort of irrelevant to me at this point,” Serverson said, “because we get to start fresh when tournament time comes. The whole point is to help prepare us for the postseason.”

As far as expectations go, Serverson holds the team to the same standard of success as she did in past seasons, even with the loss of several seniors this past year.

An important part of building the team’s success this season has been developing strong relationships between team members on the field and off it. Center forward Isabel Kinney ’19 emphasizes the importance of these relationships as they relate to how the team plays.

“We have a lot of communication … the team’s like a family to us,” Kinney said. “It shows on the field, too, because we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to play with each other.”

Lila Doran ’20 elaborated on Kinney’s perspective and added the fact that the team partakes in a great deal of bonding activities in their free time.

“We do a lot of team bonding,” Doran said. “We’re friends off the field, which helps with attitude on the field … it makes us more team players and less selfish.”

So far this season, the team has been faced with a high level of competitiveness and some unpredictability in its opponents.

“This season has been super competitive because we get in the mindset … every game to come out with a lot of intensity,” Kinney said.

“This is a bit of a confusing season because so many teams that are fairly consistent aren’t consistent this year,” Serverson said. “It’s really anybody’s game.”

With the absence of freshman representation on the team and the volume of the new sophomore class, the young team took the beginning of the season to find their flow and build some team chemistry.

“We graduated nine seniors last year … [and] we [have] a different [playing] formation … so we’re working on chemistry between a newer team,” Doran said.

Coach Serverson also offers her opinion that the relative success of this season thus far is due to the smooth integration of the new sophomore class.

“We’re a young team, so we’re still trying to find our groove and how we fit together best,” Serverson said. “We’re doing a good job with that, and I think that’s why we’re seeing more wins.”

In MCTs last weekend, the sixth-seeded Little Tigers held Robbinsville High School, the highest scoring program in the county to a single goal in the 2–1 victory and upset second-seeded Allentown High School 2–1 in overtime of the semifinal game. But, they fell to the Lawrenceville School in the final 5–0.

Serverson is confident about the growth of the team, the momentum they’ve created so far, and their ability to ride on their success at MCTs into states.

“We’re seeing how we’re improving as a group, and the resulting wins are building confidence for us,” she said. “I think that things are really just starting to fall into place.”

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