The fall sports season kicks into gear at the end of the month, but local field hockey student-athletes are already on the field practicing.
The Rams had a strong season last year but a disappointing postseason, losing in the first round. This year coaches hope for more aggressive, consistent play into the postseason, and that the young squad will show better cohesion this year.
“We have a young team this year, just one senior, and the rest are juniors and sophomores,” head coach Kelly Engstrom said. “This year we’re going to be competitive, this is a young and feisty team, but even in practice, there is a togetherness that was missing last year.”
You can see both that new team chemistry and a desire to win just looking at the players, and it’s already making a visible difference even at practice, according to junior Kayla Ward.
“The team chemistry has definitely changed from last year, we’ve improved in communicating and working together, and we’re starting to settle into our roles,” Ward said. “I know I’ve been working on my footwork and ball control ... but we’ve all been putting the work in.”
Whatever the season may bring for the Rams, they promise fans will see some aggressive play on the field.
“It’s an exciting sport to play, and exciting sport to watch,” junior Jill Doughty said. “It’s an aggressive fast-paced sport, that’s what I love about field hockey, and we’re all going to do our best out there this season.”
First game: vs Lafayette, 10 a.m. Aug. 29 at the WISC fields
The Eagles field hockey team has two major advantages coming into the new season: they’re slightly older than most of the other teams in Williamsburg, and they have a much larger squad this year to draw from.
“They did well last year, even with a tough schedule, win or lose, these players always gave it their everything,” said head coach Cord Tyler Chipman. “We have double the number of players this year, which is great, and our team has more experience and an established dynamic, if we have that same intensity we had last year, we’ll be a team to watch.”
It’s a sentiment shared by team captain Sydney Paul, who has been the Eagles’ center midfielder since freshman year. She says the team this year has a lot of experienced returning players, and promising newcomers, which she hopes gives Jamestown some edge.
“We had a good group of girls last year, and we worked well together, and that foundation is still there,” Paul said. “We also had some tough opponents and some bad luck — I myself was out for most of the season with a broken knee — so we’re hoping we go into this year with a bit more luck, and show everyone the kind of team we can really be.”
First game: vs. Gloucester, 8 a.m. Aug. 24 at Gloucester High
We’ll wrap up our look at field hockey with Warhill and Bruton, and begin our volleyball preview.
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email email@example.com, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.