Field Hockey Looks to Continue Dominance

Despite fickle weather during the preseason, the Varsity Field Hockey team has leapt into the fall season with grit and determination.
After placing second to Andover in last year’s New England Championships and losing just two games last season, the team is striving to build on past success. After the Class of 2019 became the only class in the school’s history not to see Girls Varsity Field Hockey win a New England Championship in their four years here, the Class of 2020 has more motivation than ever to come out with a win. Sandrine Brien ’20 said, “For my friends [who] have played for the program before, for the legacy of the team, it would be a huge honor and so rewarding to win the New England title, especially for my senior year. It really means a lot to us, now more than ever.”
A similarly structured program and the leadership of returning players will contribute to the coherence of the team. Last year, the team experienced a coaching change, with former Assistant Coach Kaitlyn Perrelle Leonard ’06 taking over as head coach from former Head Coach Robin Chandler ’87, who stepped down to assume the role of Assistant Coach. Coach Leonard said, “Even more so this season, we’re building off of the progression we’ve made over the course of the last four years. There’s a really good foundation laid that we’re building upon.”
The team has a history of playing to its strengths. During practice, Coaches Leonard and Chandler have focused on putting the players in game-like situations, breaking down concepts when needed, and working on efficient ball movement across the field. Scrimmaging at the end of practice encourages the players to be in the moment, reminds them of the fun of the sport, and gives them an opportunity to focus on self-improvement.
One of the most prominent aspects of Varsity Field Hockey that both coaches and players emphasize is the importance of the team as a family. The coaches and team members appreciate how the Seniors have taken the initiative to emphasize this theme as the heart of the program.Returning players Kiernan McColgan ’22 and Mackay Bommer ’22, gave examples of how the team makes a point to be together on and off the field. They pointed to team dinners after practices or games and the tradition of walking over to the fields every day after school.
Returning players believe that the seven new players will help the team flourish. Both players and coaches emphasize how a close dynamic helps the team connect on the field. Reflecting on how this attitude impacted her experience as a Prep, Brien said, “I had no field hockey experience, and I was intimidated at first, but when I met the team, I kept thinking how this [was] something I wanted to be a part of. I want to do the same [things] for the younger kids [that] the Seniors did for me when I was a Prep, because that [energy] is what made me want to help contribute.”
Varsity Field Hockey hopes to build on a promising season with its game against Deerfield on September 21 at home.