By Ellen Amico
Coming off of last year’s tough season, the Byram Hills Girls Field Hockey team was determined to make this year’s season one to remember. Being a part of this team, my teammates and I can agree that we have had a successful season. We have seen major improvement on the field, evident by both our skills and the score of the games.
The team has scored at least one goal in almost every game, winning a few of their games and even tying once. The girls’ hard work and dedication have shown their motivation to win this season. It’s clear that the goals scored and the games won have been a major confidence booster for the team!
In addition to the growth on the field, the team has grown closer off the field as well. “I think that we work as a team much better and we know each other as friends and teammates. The team chemistry is really there, and it’s really paid off,” says captain Dina Sokol. Team dinners most weekends and the friendly atmosphere during practice have contributed largely to this chemistry. Over the season, my teammates and I have grown closer, and I know many of us will continue to be friends once the season is over. Knowing how we play and being able to spot each other’s strengths and weaknesses make for great teamwork. Captain Skylar Sanders agrees, “We’ve improved most on communication and team chemistry, as we specifically know each person’s strengths and use them to succeed.” The coach notes that the team’s passing skills have improved tremendously and that the team has learned how to work well together. Being friends, not just teammates, has contributed largely to the success.
Although the field hockey team may be largely underrepresented at Byram Hills, the team has accomplished much. Olivia Gordon has a positive outlook on the future, acknowledging that “since [they] are such a young team, [they] have so much room and opportunity to grow.” The small number of people joining has arguably worked in our favor, as transitioning from year to year is easier because many of the players are already comfortable with one another. Though the transition to a new coach was a little challenging as it took time to adapt to a new coaching style, the field hockey team did not let that hinder their ability to succeed.
The attitude of the team changed drastically this season. Last year I noticed that we were motivated and wanted to win but became discouraged by our poor record. This year, the effort was apparent, and we have given our all in every game. “The team understands what hard work truly is,” says sophomore Abby Glickman. She explains, “we started to play more competitively more.” The improvement the team has seen has given the team the confidence they needed to become more serious about winning. The team learned that commitment pays off, and each member has improved tremendously in their skill set. Everyone is more serious, and “people now realize they have to work hard to start the games,” says Dina. Because the team is so small, everyone who tries out makes the team. However, that doesn’t mean an individual is guaranteed playtime, which the members of the team know, driving them to work harder to earn their position on the field. The coach adds, “The girls have this never quitting attitude that is contagious.”
The team wouldn’t be complete without the seniors, who play an integral part on and off the field as captains. Skylar emphasizes how much she’ll miss “the camaraderie that comes with [the] team, and playing with such a great group of people.” Dina loves the management part of being a captain, as it provides her with a different perspective. Her favorite memory from this season had to be the senior game. “I saw all the senior decorations and it made me feel really special that [the team] took it upon themselves to show they respect and appreciate the seniors and put a lot of effort into this,” she explained. The team will feel different next year without them, and they will be greatly missed.
The team has had some amazing feats this season, and there are many memorable games to look back on. Our record doesn’t always reflect the game itself, and there have been multiple games that have ended in a loss but were great overall. One accomplishment cherished by the team is scoring against Rye, one of the most-feared teams in the league. Although the final score is not a true reflection of the game, we were able to hold them off from scoring for almost 20 minutes in the first half, which we wouldn’t have been able to do last year. In fact, scoring multiple times in a game was difficult last year. “We have gone from not scoring during games to [getting] more than one goal in some games,” says goalie Kathryn Eisenhower. The coach acknowledges the tremendous improvement made by the girls this season and notes that “[they] went from 3 goals last year to 23 this year.” In addition to the wins, there have been numerous games where the team came very close to running away with the victory. “We were losing 4-0 in one game, then in the last 15 minutes we scored three goals and almost won the game,” recalls Abby Glickman. This game was her favorite and mine too, as after this game, the team really made great strides, improving from one game to the next. The coach agrees: “We didn’t win but the memory of coming back and losing by one really showed me the girls’ determination.”
All of the motivation and dedication that the girls put into the season was displayed in their last game of the regular season in their 6-1 victory against Our Lady of Lourdes. There was no better way to end the regular season as every senior scored a goal.
The Byram Hills field hockey team hopes to continue the high spirits and improvement on the field. If you did not see a field hockey game this season, you most definitely missed out! Be sure to catch the Byram Hills field hockey team take the field next season!