The Panthers are looking to make a deep run in the Patriot Cup tournament.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High field hockey team has its eyes on the cup. The Patriot Cup, that is.
With no state tournament, the Patriot League teams will end their seasons squaring against one another for some hardware, as they tackle the new format of 7-on-7 field hockey together.
“We would like to go far in the Patriot League Cup tournament,” said seventh-year W-H head coach Todd Humphrey. “As a team, we need to learn how to adjust to how each team in the Patriot League plays 7-on-7 field hockey. The season is all about live and learn.”
And while the season may have a different look and feel to it — the Panthers are hoping to carry over their momentum from last fall, in which they went 4-5-4 in their last 13 games after starting out the year 0-5-1. But as always there’s room for improvement, especially in the transition game.
“The faster we can get the ball up the field and set up our offense as a cohesive unit in the opponent’s end will improve our chances in the Patriot League Cup tournament,” Humphrey said. “We have a good team of very athletic girls. Playing in the Patriot League is tough since every team is excellent.”
Junior midfielder Mary Kate Ryan flourished playing in the Patriot League last season en route to being named the Panthers’ lone league all-star. This fall, she’s their top returnee.
“She has great hands and is able to find open players,” Humphrey said. “Very defensive-minded and good creating turnovers.”
Seniors Lauren Clark, Noelle Cornetta and Madi Savicke are W-H’s captains for the shortened season.
Clark, a two-year captain, led the Panthers with 10 points last season, scoring a goal and dishing out nine assists.
“Lauren is a solid two-way player,” Humphrey said. “She does her best to create opportunities. She is always looking to shoot the ball on net. She does a great job at sparking our offense.”
On the other end of the field, Cornetta is the anchor of W-H’s defense along with classmate Skylar Leonard, both of whom are three-year starters.
“She has really improved her ability to move the ball up the field, which has been helpful in transitioning to 7-on-7,” Humphrey said of Cornetta.
“[Skylar is] a solid defender, “ Humphrey said. “She is very reliable [and] is good at dealing with pressure situations caused by opposing forwards.”
Savicke also knows quite a few things about pressure situations, as she settles into her third year in between the pipes. She posted a 2.09 goals against average last autumn.
“Madi is at her best handling pressure in the arc,” Humphrey said. “She is great at directing players to where they need to be on defense. She has a heck of a good kick pass to get the ball to our midfielders.”
Seniors Nicole Clack, Delanie MacDonald, Katie Mulligan and Christina Short, juniors Lauren Dunn, Joli Flamos, Maddie Guidaboni, Rosie MacKinnon, Olivia Phelps and Ashley Sawtelle and freshman Paige Cosgrove should all play significant minutes as well, this season.
W-H will be back in action Friday, Oct. 9 at 3:30 p.m. on the road against Notre Dame Academy (of Hingham).
“We can run up and down the field in a moment’s notice,” Humphrey said. “I have had to shift lines as if I was an ice hockey coach again to keep up with the intense pace.”