After dominating its competition with a 39-0 overall record over the past two seasons, the field hockey team is looking to defend its two consecutive LAFHA Championship titles and finish the season undefeated once again, midfielder Rachel Brown ’20 said.
Defender Ella Moriarty ’21 said that the squad is excited to play again as they attempt to secure a championship for the third consecutive season.
“I think we all feel very proud to be undefeated twice,” Moriarty said. “I think it also helps us because it puts a lot more pressure on us and motivates us to work even harder the next year.”
Field hockey is not showing any signs of slowing down, Moriarty said, shutting out Westminster High School 9-0 in the season opener Aug. 19.
Despite the strong start to the regular season, Brown said that she understands the squad has not reached its full potential.
“We are continuously trying to improve by setting goals for ourselves,” Brown said. Unlike last year, there are no freshmen on the roster. Even though the team lacks younger talent, Brown said that the seniors will embrace their role as the leaders and role models for the sophomores and juniors.
The Wolverines lost several key players last season, including former captains Sydney Pizer ’19, Isabella Huang ’19 and Cypress Toomey ‘19. Despite the loss, program head Erin Creznic said she is confident in the current team’s abilities on the field.
“We have a very strong senior class, and I have no doubt that they will be great leaders on our team,” Creznic said. “All of those players have become stronger and more skilled since last season. They have improved greatly since their first year on varsity last year.”
After training hard during the off-season, defender Scarlett Strasberg ’20 said that the team’s members have adjusted to the new team dynamic and that she believes each player will improve as the season progresses.
Judging from their practices and lifts during the offseason, left forward Samantha Yeh ’20 said the players are training and preparing to be perfect this year as well.
During summer preseason, the team’s daily training sessions consisted of two hours of play and one hour of lifting.
When the season begins, the squad will practice three days each week and compete the other two.
“The practices can be tough sometimes, but in the end, they are only improving us as players both mentally and physically,” defender Sarah Rivera ’21. “[Competing alongside] your friends on the team makes it much more fun.”
During the off-season, team captains emphasized squad camaraderie through bonding experiences outside of practice.
“Because our team is so [close], we hang out pretty regularly, whether it’s grabbing lunches after practice, going to someone’s house to swim or even our annual sleepover,” Brown said.
The team competed in the annual Kaylee Scholarship Association Events tournament this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which helped build chemistry and condition before league play, goalie Caitlyn Dovel ’21 said.
“It’s a great experience to see how other people play in different states, and the different drills and warm-ups they do before game starts,” Dovel said. “I also think it’s fun to reach out and make a couple of new friends that we can sometimes recognize every year when we return to Orlando for the KSA tournament. This year, unfortunately, we had no [substitutes] for the [games], so it should really prepare us for the upcoming season when we will be able to sub out. The heat of Orlando helps conditioning. We take our weather at home for granted. The humidity in Florida is definitely a factor in our game.”
In the squad’s downtime, the coaches and players visited Walt Disney World Resort, highlighting the close bonds the players have already built with each other, Dovel said.
“Every day after our games, we [went] to Disney World,and I think just being at the happiest place on earth is bonding in itself,” Dovel said. “But also every night before we go to sleep, we did activities and fun little games all together in one of our rooms.”
The team opened the tournament by shutting out Mountain Lakes High School 4-0 Thursday.
On Friday, the squad won 4-1 and then 8-0. The scores of the games Saturday were unavailable as of press time.
Field hockey will return to regular season play against Fountain Valley High School on Thursday.