Sisters Lauren and Kathryn Dunn are ecstatic to be playing with each other for the Whitman-Hanson Regional High field hockey team.
Coming into tryouts, Lauren Dunn was just aiming to make the freshman field hockey team.
But her speed was too much to pass up for Whitman-Hanson Regional High field hockey coach Todd Humphrey, who selected her and two other freshmen out of 26 for the varsity team.
“During tryouts, I noticed that Lauren was quick to the ball,” Humphrey explained. “She was aggressive. She’s going to be a playmaker. I thought she worked well with Annika (Putur), so I want to continue to enrich that throughout the season.”
Dunn’s low expectations for her roster status stemmed from the fact that she just picked up the sport over the summer after a lifetime of playing soccer.
Her sister Kathryn, a senior, made a similar move. Kathryn was the MVP of the junior varsity girls’ soccer team her sophomore season before deciding field hockey was the fall sport for her.
“Kathryn was kind of debating [joining field hockey] and talking about it,” explained Humphrey, “and I said, ‘Look, I don’t recruit. I’m here for you if you want to make that transition. If you want to come play field hockey, I’m here for you. That’s your decision.’”
So, when Kathryn found out her younger sister cracked the varsity team, a few months after talking her into playing the sport, she was ecstatic.
“I think I was more excited than she was,” Kathryn said.
The two sisters’ only prior experience playing together has come when Lauren subbed in on Kathryn’s AAU basketball team when they need an extra player or two.
Lauren said her older sister has been an immense asset for her to have by her side as she makes the transition to high school both in the classroom and the field.
“She’s been a lot of help,” said Lauren. “She’s just there for me, always. It’s awesome.”
Humphrey said this season brings back memories of 2014, when freshman Colleen Hughes (’18) came out for the team along with her sister Caitlin (’15), who would end up being the program’s first captain since its revival that season after a 30-year hiatus.
Colleen went on to captain the team three seasons later. Caroline Woodward (’16) was a captain her senior season and then her younger sister, Tina (’18), went on to do the same her senior season.
“It’s very much a family affair, for sure,” Humphrey said. “I like it.”
In the Panthers’ first game of the season, a 1-1 tie against Scituate, Humphrey gave both Dunns the start – Kathryn at defender and Lauren at forward.
“That was awesome,” Kathryn said. “Scituate was the Fisher League champions, so it felt great to tie against them because they’re a good team.”
Said Lauren: “I was so excited to get to play with her. It was a lot of fun and we played really well, too.”
Kathryn was a key force in the middle for the Panthers that game, and Humphrey said he can’t begin to explain her importance to the team as an elder statesman.
“I’m really impressed with Kathryn,” he said. “She was working in the offseason. She was playing in the Bridgewater Dome just doing different things – putting the basketball down a little bit and playing some field hockey, so it definitely helped.”
Humphrey said Kathryn’s biggest improvement from last fall is her technique. “She’s just great at getting low and sweeping the ball,” Humphrey said. “That’s very different because last year she was very high. Now she’s very low and she’s able to drive the ball down the field.”
While Kathryn clamps down on defense, Lauren is flying down the field with the offense. In the Panthers’ 2-1 victory over Silver Lake on Thursday, Sept. 13, Lauren passed the ball to junior Victoria Ryan, who buried it home for a goal to make it 1-0.
“You’re going to see Lauren going more with the offensive flow, just very graceful and fast,” Humphrey said.
The goal the rest of the way for the Dunns is to keep the Panthers’ winning ways going. Through five contests, W-H sits at 2-1-2, its best start since the program resurfaced four years ago.
“We’ll never get this chance again, so I’m glad we got this,” Kathryn said.