By John Orrell
HOLDEN — Sometimes the powers that be who configure season scheduling can be kind and benevolent when it comes to charting the course of any given year. For some teams, maybe not so much.
The 2022 Wachusett Regional High varsity field hockey team arguably falls into the latter category, having been scheduled to play four consecutive games on the road before opening up their home season Sept. 19 with a 4-2 loss to Shrewsbury High. The squad went 2-1-1 as road warriors while featuring a tough 1-0 victory over a formidable Algonquin Regional that set the tone for good things to come.
“We have a lot of home games coming up after being away so long, which finally gets us home field advantage and the excitement that goes with it,” said Mountaineer head coach Kerry Berry.
“A lot of these girls have played together forever. They’ve played on club teams and middle school together. You can tell by the way each other knows where they’re going to be on the field. They cheer for each other and have a common goal of seeing each other be successful.”
“Starting off and not being home was kind of as hard to get into the flow because you’re not used to that field,” explained mid/forward Olivia Valentine. “When you have good chemistry, it’s easy to play, so you have good flow. We love each other on this team, and it’s really good fun.”
The green and white were raining goals when they recorded an 11-2 drubbing of visiting Tantasqua Regional on Sept. 28 at Hall Lane Field. Sydney Carlson tallied 4, Kate Louder and Kathryn Guertin added a pair each, and Kaleigh McGurl, Meg Morrissey and Tori Amico each added goals. The victory over the Warriors improved Wachusett’s record to 4-2-1 while closing in on the midpoint of the 2022 season.
“Everyone was happy in how they played and the excitement of it,” said Berry, who opened up her bench to allow her full roster playing time. “They were fired up. If they played like that every game, we’d be very successful.”
“It was frustrating not to have our home turf (earlier in the season), but now I feel like we’re back on track and we have to keep it up,” said Amico, another mid/forward. “We have great chemistry. These are all my best friends. I’ve made all my best friends from being on this team. Chemistry is so amazing, and we all love each other very much. We have to work as a team and back each other up, cheering from the sideline. We have to get each other’s energy up as high as possible.”
Energy, and lots of it, will be in full demand when the team takes to the turf for a consistent flow of difficult opponents including Algonquin, Shrewsbury and Nashoba Regional. Center/D Kathryn Guertin knows that team unity on and off the field will be necessary.
“I think our passing up and down the field and finding that 90 ball or cross ball for the tip-in is important,” she said. “Sometimes things get scrambled and we need to pass and play as a team. That’s what makes it work.
“We have a lot of siblings and cousins, so we have a lot of family unity. We back each other and pick each other up. If someone makes a mistake, we pick them up and tell them it’s OK.”
“We need to make sure our passing game is on, and needed to make sure that we could be confident in our ability to score coming into such a tough stretch” Berry concluded. “These are great girls, and I’m proud of all of them.”
Members of the 2022 Wachusett Regional High varsity field hockey team are Vittoria Amico, Lilly Bumpus, Sydney Carlson, Lillian Chaisson, Kate Connors, Elizabeth Guertin, Kathryn Guertin, Jordan Jarvi, Emerson Johnson, Julia Kirton, Kate Louder, Kaleigh McGurl, Lyndsey McGurl , Jenna Mills, Megan Morrissey, Lucy Patterson, Ella Perry, Julia Queeny, Elizabeth Sawyer, Lily Staiti, and Olivia Valentine.
Team captains are Julia Queeny, Kathryn Guertin, Vittoria Amico and Kate Connors. Head coach is Kerry Berry, assisted by Marina Valentine.