The W-H field hockey team rolled with a new rulebook this fall.
For the Whitman-Hanson Regional High field hockey team, it was a unique season in every sense of the word.
“Going from 11-on-11 to 7-on-7 and taking away penalty corners were massive changes,” said seventh-year head coach Todd Humphrey. “I would say that most of my players were skeptical of the rule changes at first, but they soon learned to embrace them, especially the 7-on-7 dynamic.”
Specifically the open space on the field.
“It allowed them to showcase speed and passing,” Humphrey explained. “We would practice our skills during the week and on Saturdays we would take time to develop our conditioning. Determining proper coverage and defensive responsibility was difficult too. Especially, since the offenses in the Patriot League tend to be strong.”
W-H finished the season 2-9-1, highlighted by a 1-0 victory over Marshfield in the first round of the Patriot Cup.
“The game was a culmination of our efforts preparing for the playoffs as a team throughout the regular season,” Humphrey said. “Since every team in the Patriot League was going to compete for the Patriot Cup, I felt like the regular season was a preseason. The regular season allowed us to try different formations and strategies with our players. It took us a while to find the style of play that worked best for us.”
Junior forward Olivia Phelps had the winning goal. She found the back of the net a team-high six times and dished out three assists en route to being named a Patriot League All-Star.
“Olivia Phelps was a force to be reckoned with this season,” Humphrey said. “She really started to shine during our home game against Duxbury, and for the rest of the season, she was relentless in moving the ball down the field and attacking the opposition’s defense. She also showed her strength as a two-way player by supporting the defense.”
Fellow junior forward Lauren Dunn (four goals, two assists) and senior forward Lauren Clark (two goals, four assists) also contributed on offense this season.
“They are amazing players,” Humphrey said. “They worked exceptionally well together, especially when they moved the ball down the field. They are all unselfish players which made them great passers. They did a great job creating offensive opportunities against very formidable defenses.”
Paige Cosgrove also made her presence felt, according to Humphrey. She was the only freshman on varsity and Humphrey said she is excited to see her develop.
“She came to tryouts with a lot of great field hockey skills,” said her coach. “Paige currently plays forward and will be one player to watch in the upcoming years. She will need a supporting cast of players.”
So, what’s the future of W-H field hockey?
“Our field hockey program will continue to have camps and clinics in the summer to introduce middle school girls to our sport and hope that our numbers continue to grow,” Humphrey said. “We encourage girls in the Whitman-Hanson community to try our sport. Some of our girls have been playing on club teams during the off season and that is making them better players. Others have been attending field hockey camps during the summer to improve their skills.”