Varsity field hockey shoots and scores 

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Sacred Heart Greenwich’s varsity field hockey team began their season with a 7-0 victory over Hackley School Wednesday, September 12.  Head Coach Mr. Alexandru Gheorghe and Associate Head Coach Ms. Sarah Hill’s experience, alongside the support from senior captains Hilary Hoover and Ryan Smith, guided the team to a record of 16 wins, two losses, and one tie. Maxfieldhockey.com ranked the varsity field hockey team as the number ten team in the Northeast Region of the United States.   

The seniors on the 2018 varsity field hockey team, Hilary Hoover ’19, Ryan Smith ’19, Ellie Manriquez ’19, and Olivia Batal ’19 have led their team to a victorious season. Photos courtesy of Ms. Christie Allen

Hilary believes that the team’s ranking is a reflection of the strength and depth of community within the squad.

“As a senior, I have watched the field hockey program grow and do amazing things,” Hilary said.  “[Our rank] is not only a reflection of this season but a testament to every team before us and the program as a whole.”  

Sacred Heart earned a bye in the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) quarterfinal game due to their high ranking in the league.  This bye allowed the Tigers to advance to the semifinal game without playing in the quarterfinals.  In the semifinal game, Wednesday, November 7, Sacred Heart defeated Rye Country Day School 7-0.  Seniors Ryan and Ellie Manriquez each had one goal, while sophomore Beth Yeager scored five times.

Sacred Heart beat local rivals the Greenwich Academy Gators in the FAA finals on the Gators’ home field for the second year in a row, Friday, November 9.  Beth scored a goal in regulation time and a goal in overtime to win the game 2-1.

“Winning in overtime and watching our peers storm the field was unreal, it was one of the most exciting days of my life,” Hilary said. 

Following their championship game, the Tigers moved to the first round of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) tournament with a home game against Deerfield Academy, Wednesday, November 14.

“This year our goal was to make it to the New England tournament, farther than we have ever gone in history,” Ryan said.

Sacred Heart defeated Deerfield 3-0 in the NEPSAC quarterfinals.  Ryan, Ellie, and Beth’s goals contributed to the win.  The Tigers advanced to the NEPSAC semifinals with an away game against The Hotchkiss School, a team they tied during the regular season.  This is the first year in Sacred Heart history that the varsity field hockey team made an appearance in the NEPSAC tournament semifinals.

Coach Gheorghe and Coach Hill believe that determination and mental toughness are what have to lead the team to victory throughout the season. 

The varsity field hockey team in a huddle prior to playing Greenwich Academy at Sacred Heart on the Joan Magnetti, RSCJ Turf Field, Saturday, October 20.
Courtesy of Mr. Chris Pope

“First and foremost mental preparation is critical. We know we can do it, we just need to execute under pressure, at the right time and the right moment,” Coach Gheorghe and Coach Hill said. “The reality is that it is up to the players and their drive to bring the trophy home. We as coaches can only encourage and support them but we can’t execute for them.”

In the game against Hotchkiss, Saturday, November 17, the Tigers were defeated 2-1, in overtime. Ellie scored in the second half.

Senior Olivia Batal reflected on the success of the season despite the team’s loss in the NEPSAC tournament.

“This was definitely our most successful season,” Olivia said. Our team’s strong connection benefited our skills, which allowed us to have such a successful season. Everybody on the team was so spectacular and we became a family. I’m going to miss playing with them so much next year.”

Featured image by Amelia Sheehan.