Tigers attempt to outperform last season’s run in playoffs

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Jacob Schwartz” align=”alignleft” width=”220″]Field Hockey[/media-credit]

Junior Bridget Gillis passes up the field Thursday

by Kristian Lundberg
For the first time in six seasons, field hockey qualified for the State Tournament last year. The Tigers won their first-round playoff game in double overtime last year, before falling in the second round.
However, because a core group of players graduated last year, coach Celeste Myers said the team’s more immediate goal is “meeting last year’s result.”
“It’s a rebuilding year for us,” she said. “We have only five players returning from the previous year, and three of them are captains.”
“Also, we didn’t have a freshmen a few years ago, and those freshmen would be juniors now,” Myers added. “That hurts our depth.”
Still, Myers believes the team has a chance to advance farther in the postseason.
“We’re training to go back to the tournament,” she said. “We’re working hard, and we want to at least meet, then improve on, how we did last year.”
Last year’s team also differed from previous teams by integrating, as four boys joined the squad. Myers said becoming co-ed was “not unique.”
“We’ve played a lot of teams with boys, and it’s not really different,” she said. “It’s the same with boys as with girls at our practices, and the gender doesn’t even matter. All of them are members of our team.”
Myers also said that the Tigers “don’t have to make a lot of adjustments” with boys on the team.
“They bring intensity and add focus, but otherwise, there’s no difference. We don’t really consider whether someone is female or male,” she said.
The only returning boy to the varsity team from last year is senior Bobby Grimshaw who was among the team’s top scorers last season. He scored a clutch game winner in double overtime in the Tigers’ playoff win.
“We love having Bobby, and we’re used to him being on the team. He makes the practices and games more competitive,” said senior Stephanie Vitone, a captain with seniors Alison Berkowitz and Danielle Wasson.
This year, the Tigers, 3-2-1 Tuesday, are hoping to finish above .500 for a chance to qualify for States.
Myers said the team needs to “take one game at a time” during the season, as all of the teams in the conference are competitive.
“If we’re not willing to work hard every single game, we’ll lose,” she said. “We need to prepare for every game and use the things we worked on in practice in games.”
In upcoming action, the Tigers will host Natick Monday and Norwood Wednesday.