Determination driving LHS field hockey to 4-1 start

LACONIA – The Laconia girls' varsity field hockey team is certainly a team to be reckoned with this year.

As the clock started the first game of the season, the field hockey girls took Pembrook by storm, scoring three goals during the duration of the game. Pembrook was the first team to feel the sting of being shut out by Laconia, but soon proved not to be the last. Profile School and Somersworth were the next teams to fall victim to a shut out game, brought on by the Laconia girls.

With their confidence up and a good record to start off the season, the girls went into their next game Sept. 18 against Winnisquam with the hopes of another win, and possibly another shut out. As the ball started rolling, the girls started running, and the sticks started hitting, spectators and players knew this was going to be the most intense game the girls had played thus far. Laconia for the first time this season was up for a real challenge.

Feeling the pressure, the Laconia girls tried their best to keep the ball out of their zone. A few break-a-ways gave Maggie Randall, goalie for the team, a brief moment of relief, but this period did not last long. Charging back toward the goal, Winnisquam closed in on the Laconia girls heading toward the goal. Laconias, reacting to the advance went on high alert to get the ball back down the field, but could not stop the advance in time. Laconia let the ball slip past Randall, but did not let this score break their spirit.

The second half of the game proved to be more intense than the first, as the Laconia girls stepped up their game and had more frequent possession of the ball. Cheyanne Zappala, freshmen, darted down the field gaining possession of the ball. Receiving a well-executed pass, Danielle Cote charged after the ball next and helped move the ball further into Winnisquam's territory. Nicole Boggart, receiving possession of the ball, headed toward the goal but was intercepted by an advance by Winnisquam. This advance was just one of many the girls had during the game.

"Keep it coming this way! There you go!" screamed spectators from the sidelines. The crowd was focused on the ball now in possession of Giuliana Kevlin, as she worked skillfully to get the ball out of dangerous territory. Winnisquam girls were swarming the Laconia players, making various attempts to steal the ball. As the ball shifted possession one could hear Mary Garside, retired coach of the varsity field hockey team, yelling "Challenge it! Challenge her! Put the pressure on girls." Clearly Laconia was feeling the pressure.

In a desperate attempt to put a score on the board before the game came to a close, Ashley Silva put power in her drive as she shuttled the ball back down to Kevlin. No one could question the endurance of the girls, as until the minute the buzzer sounded the girls were hustling on the field. Madeline Smith, defender for the team, stopped many advances and helped keep the ball from reaching Randall on various occasions.

Although the girls were trying their best to keep the ball down the field, they felt the blow of three additional goals before the end of the game. This loss did not break their spirit though, rather it strengthened it. Leaving the field, Captain Danielle Cote stated, "We have grown as a team this year, and losing and winning is an experience that helps all players on the team bond. Each game we learn more how to situate ourselves to learn how to be more efficient, which is extremely beneficial in the long run. We will continue to learn from our mistakes and become a better team as the year goes on."

Cote's words proved to have truth in them, as they entered their game against White Mountains on Friday with a new drive to get another win. During their game against White Mountains Annie Dionne put the first score on board for Laconia. Following suit, Kevlin scored an additional goal for the team, making the score 2-1. The team is hoping to secure another win this afternoon at Kennett High School.