Head Coach Nicole Blake’s passion and commitment to coaching is a key to the continued success of the field hockey team, which is currently leading with a record of 8-2.
Along with the 8-2 overall record, the team is 5-1 in the month of October, and currently are on a five game winning streak. Coach Blake says this is due to a couple factors. “We have been able to win so many games and have a better record than last year because everyone’s skill level has improved immensely,” Coach Blake said. “Last year we still needed to mature and mold as a team. This year we connect as a team on and off the field.”
Coach Blake has the team focus on things that the team struggled with the last game. Some of these things include scoring goals without driving the ball, corners, and conditioning, much to the dismay of the team. “I come up with new drills, condition them a lot, and continue to adapt practice to our game needs,” she said. Junior goalkeeper Caitlin Budzik commented on the things she likes that Blake is doing for the team. “I like that she works us hard in practice and she helps us gel as a team through team bonding exercises,” she said. “I also like that she has zero tolerance for attitude problems that come up on the team, which keeps us in line. One other thing I like is that while skill is a large part of determining who plays, if someone is giving 100% effort then they will get a chance to prove themselves. I think that inspires people to play to the best of their ability and that it’s a great motivational tool.”
Junior forward Co-captain Cici Chagnon said she agreed with Budzik and added more on how she thinks the team could improve. “I think our team chemistry is good, but our communication could get better. It’s just as important in field hockey as it is in other sports, so I think we could work on talking on the field more,” she said. “Coach Blake was a big part of helping us get that team chemistry with team bonding exercises, and she is constantly trying to get us as a team to be more vocal on the field, especially the captains and other leaders on the team.”
Coach Blake changes the team’s strategies depending on the skill level of the other team. “When we are playing worse teams, we push the defense up more so that the forwards also move forward into the opposing team’s goal. This puts more pressure on the other team because they have less space to play into,” Budzik said. “When we play stronger teams, our forwards push back so that we can mark everyone on the opposing team.”
Coach Blake said she hopes that the team can continue with this winning streak they currently have going but she understands that they still have a tough schedule coming up. “The season has been great so far, and I can’t wait to see how we finish,” she said.
After Hewett Day, the girls’ next game is away at Wilbraham and Monson.