Youth bolsters field hockey

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Gabe Dreyer” align=”alignleft” width=”277″]Senior Ellie Abbott passes the ball to a teammate during practice at Forte Field.[/media-credit]

Senior Ellie Abbott passes the ball to a teammate during practice at Forte Field.

by Kristian Lundberg
With only five varsity players returning from last season, coach Celeste Myers expected field hockey to undergo a rebuilding year.
While this year’s team did develop, it also managed to find its own success.
The Tigers, 6-5-3 Wednesday, stand within one point of returning to the playoffs with two games left in the regular season.
The squad hosted Needham Thursday, needing a win or a tie to clinch a playoff berth. If the Tigers failed to earn either, they will face Norwood  tomorrow at Dickinson Stadium with their season on the line.
The Tigers’ success this season stemmed from “younger and older players working together,” Myers said.
“As a whole, the team has really applied itself,” she said. “The younger players have incorporated themselves into the team, and the seniors have done a great job in mentoring them.”
Now, Myers’ goal for the team is to “reach the next level.”
The Tigers’ immediate hope is to advance past the first round of the playoffs, she said, which would at least equal last year’s finish. However, Myers hopes the team will make a “meaningful run in the tournament.”
She added, “We’re in a good position. We’re playing at a playoff level, and we’re on target to meet our expectations.”
Senior Stephanie Vitone, a captain with seniors Alison Berkowitz and Danielle Wasson, said the younger players “have come ready to play.”
“They’re motivated to play and eager to make an impact,” she said. “With a couple of seniors having returned from last year, we’ve been able to give them good leadership, too.
“The underclassmen are coming out and feeling more comfortable with the team and that translates on an individual and team level.”
If the squad were to make the pressure cooker of the State Tournament, this leadership could come in handy. Vitone said, “It’s definitely encouraging that we went to the tournament last year. Because we’ve done it before, making it far is not so difficult to accomplish.”