The Whitman-Hanson Regional High field hockey team has a new look this season.
Todd Humphrey has a lot of new faces running around at practice.
“Over half the team has never been on varsity, some are just starting out,” said the seventh-year Whitman-Hanson Regional High head field hockey coach, who graduated 17 seniors off last fall’s first-ever state tournament squad.
The Panthers, who finished 3-12-2 last season, return just three starters.
One of them is senior Reagan Heath, who is back in goal.
“She has been working to improve her skills and is looking to support her team between the pipes this year,” Humphrey said.
Junior Julia Cosgrove — who netted a two goals and added two assists at forward last season — will switch back to defense.
“Her stick-handling ability should help us transition the ball from defense to offense,” Humphrey said.
And sophomore Lillie MacKinnon will run the show at midfield.
“She has impressive ball handling skills and is great at moving the team up the field,” said the coach.
But other than that, Humphrey is looking at nine new starters. Two of them will be senior forward Abbie O’Neill and Kate Marino. They’ll captain the team along with Cosgrove.
“Abbie is all about hustle and making plays, she is tough in front of the net,” Humphrey explained. “Kate is an all around player with a solid plethora of field hockey skills, she is willing to do anything to help the team. Paige is highly skilled and experienced, who really knows the game well. Each captain sincerely values their leadership role and is willing to help their teammates improve.”
Sophomores Ava Ferreira and Brooke Kreckler will join Marino and O’Neill at forward. As for the the midfield, juniors Hannah Battell and Lauren O’Neill will flank MacKinnon, while junior Maddy Geagan and sophomore Brooklyn Uzzell will slide in next to Cosgrove on defense.
Despite the new look, Humphrey said he doesn’t feel like the Panthers’ lack of experience will necessary be a weakness because a lot of his squad plays multiple varsity sports.
“The players that are new to field hockey are picking up the game rather quickly,” he said. “They also have demonstrated a desire to improve and really have desire to do well at field hockey.”
W-H is back in action Monday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. in Pembroke.
“This season we are starting all over again,” Humphrey said. “I am looking forward to watching our players come together as a team and improve their field hockey skills as the season progresses.”