Walking off the pitch, members of the Green Hornets Junior-A field hockey team looked energized on October 25. To them, it didn’t matter that they had allowed Crofton to score three goals. It didn’t matter that they were unable to put the ball into the back of the net. It didn’t matter that a penalty stroke in the second quarter was missed. The only thing that mattered to them was that they had the chance to pick up their sticks and play at all.
“The girls all left with smiles on their faces,” said head coach Sherrie Day.
Having played five out of the six games on their shortened schedule and with no playoffs to finish the season, the team had to change their goals for this season. For the girls, the season has become more about having fun and getting better than trying to win, Day stated.
“What you want is the girls to be out and have a good time and get some exercise and enjoy company with their friends, and win or lose, we’re lucky to be out here,” Day said. “I think they are so thankful to be out with each other that they overlooked any of the obstacles … they are so excited to be at practice and to be with each other that they don’t look at anything as a negative.”
For Coach Day, the season also hasn’t been so much about winning as it has been about the girls “being thankful that they are on a competitive team, playing against other good teams.”
Beyond the shortened season and lack of playoffs, Day wanted to make it clear that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t really changed how the team was going to play and practice. According to Day, the team hasn’t experienced that big of a difference compared to past seasons.
“We don’t do a close, knit circle, but now we stick our sticks in while standing six feet apart,” Day explained. “It just makes us be louder when we cheer.”
Even during warmups and when standing on the sidelines, the girls stood several feet apart. The pandemic has also allowed the entire team to be together during practices and games. Day mentioned that in previous seasons, girls would miss practices and games from time to time due to other commitments in their lives, but because “so few things are happening, no one has a conflict, so everyone is present for everything.”
But Day also hasn’t let the pandemic impact what she has been teaching the girls to work on. With 16 of the 18 players moving up to high-school-level field hockey next year, Day wants to make sure that the girls leave as prepared as possible. To that end, Day has had the girls focus on long passes and letting the ball move faster than their feet. And with only one game left, the season might soon be over, but the girls won’t stop working hard.
“We’re seriously contemplating meeting as a team once or twice a week to do a fun run and to keep the girls in shape,” stated Day. “Our team is just so thankful to have the time together, to bond and continue to learn hockey.”
The Junior-A Green Hornets are Keira Abere, Quinn Allison, Anna Campion, Addison Carey, Sydney Day, Abigail DiPaola, Clare Donovan, Grace Frankl, Kyra Hoffmaster, Grace Lamon, Madeline Lancione, Grace Moran, Kelsey Rowe, Libby Russell, Avery Saviano, Sienna Turner, Emma Weber and Ava Zimmerson.