Field hockey starts out strong in home opener against Miss Porters

Sports

Powered by a fast playstyle and tenacious defense, varsity field hockey has started off hot with a 2-0 record. So far, the girls have picked up wins against Miss Porter’s School and Canterbury School, holding both teams to one goal in total while scoring eight overall. The team’s first unofficial game of the season was a scrimmage against Hall High School on Sept. 5. The Wyverns were unable to gain the victory, falling 4-0 to the Warriors.

In the squad’s first regular season game against Miss Porter’s on Sept. 11, the offense came out firing on all cylinders, racking up a whopping six goals. Junior forward Co-captain Cici Chagnon led the way with a hat-trick. Behind her, junior forward Izzy Burke scored two goals, and sophomore forward Alyssa Pavano notched one goal as well. Junior goalie Caitlin Budzik along with the rest of the Wyvern defense was able to keep Porter’s offense from scoring the whole game.

When asked what contributed to the team’s success, sophomore midfielder Abby Mclaughlin said that their aggressiveness and smart offense was the key to their victory. “We started strong by keeping the ball in our offensive zone, marking up on their players during free hits, and taking good shots,” McLaughlin said. “Izzy [Burke] had the first two goals within 10 minutes of the first half, which got the team hyped up.”

Following the victory at home against Miss Porter’s, the girls were on the road against Canterbury. The game was close, but in the end, KO prevailed with a 2-1 win against the Saints due to more steadfast defense and aggressive offense.

In their next contest, the team looks to snag a win against Loomiss Chaffee School, who has proven to be a tough adversary in past seasons for the field hockey team. However, Head Coach Nicole Blake is confident that the Wyverns will come out victorious. “Our next game is against Loomis, who is always a good competitor,” said Coach Blake. “If we come together and play as we did in the Porters game, we will take home the win.”

Senior forward Co-captain Alex D’Addabbo emphasized the team’s most notable strengths coming into the fall. “We are incredibly fast and can out-maneuver a lot of the teams that we play,” D’Addabbo said. “Our drives are really hard, and we work well together as a team because most of us have played together for at least three years now.”

The team has three captains this year: D’Addabbo, Chagnon, and junior defensemen Keegan McMahon. The team holds them in very high respect, especially since two of whom are juniors. McMahon spoke about her leadership role on the team as a captain. “I constantly lead by example, and I try to be vocal on the field at all times,” McMahon said. During practices, the team goes through a mix of conditioning and stick skill drills. They also emphasize game-like situations in practice to prepare for what they might see during a game. The girls will additionally work on fast-break drills with 3 vs. 2 or 4 vs. 3 scenarios.

Coach Blake also likes to highlight areas of improvement from previous games as well. “I try to gear every practice towards something that we lacked in the previous game,” Coach Blake said, “while also keeping in mind who our next opponent is and what they will bring to the game that we need to prepare for.”

One of the teams most beneficial factors this year is their team chemistry. McLaughlin spoke about how their team chemistry and unity has helped contribute to their success so far. “The team is like a family,” McLaughlin said. “We all get along so well and have such good chemistry. I think our chemistry is one of the major things that separates us from other teams and ultimately helps us win.”

After a losing season last year (7-12), the players are very hopeful for a successful season this year. “I see us making it to the playoffs this season because of the sheer talent on our roster,” D’Addabbo said. “We have an amazing team skill-wise this year.”

Following the game on the road against Loomis, the girls will head to St. Luke’s and will be back at home against Pomfret for their next match. The next two games will be away against Millbrook and then at KO facing Cheshire. KO looks to continue their recent winning streak, and the word McLaughlin would use to describe the team’s current mindset: “Determined.”