OR field hockey: Ending on a high note
MATTAPOISETT — Fewer games, fewer players.
The Fall II season for the Old Rochester Regional High School field hockey team was a lot different than previous years due to covid restrictions. But that didn’t stop them from making the South Coast Conference semifinals.
The field hockey team's usual 18-game season was cut short to 8 regular season games, with social distance and mask mandates in place.
“Honestly I was very scared that I wouldn’t be able to get a junior season and I was very worried about when the next time I would be able to play with my team,” junior goalie Emily Wheeler said. “So I just waited to hear what the MIAA would have to say about the season and it was a big relief hearing that we would be playing in the Fall II season.”
Junior Maggie Nailor said the game was “much more fast-paced and had more running than usual” due to 7-v-7 play. The game typically is played with 11 players per team.
“As a coach, I really liked the space 7-v-7 gave us. It was clearer to actually see what was happening on the field. I’m honestly going to miss it,” Coach Lauren O’Brien said.
The new format called for a smaller roster — just 16 players were allowed on varsity — leading to cuts on the team.
When it came time for the playoffs, OR was the fourth seed.
After beating Joseph Case High School 3-2 in the first round, the team lost to reigning South Coast Conference champions Somerset Berkley in the semi-finals
But O’Brien wasn’t disappointed with the 5-0 score — especially with senior goalie Molly Janicki shutting out Somerset Berkley in the second half.
“Losing to Somerset Berkley 5-0 and blanking them in the second half was a memorable ending,” O’Brien said. “The game showed the grit and perseverance the team has.”
Now, O’Brien is looking forward to next season. “It looks like next season is looking closer to what a normal season would look like.”
The coach said next season's biggest challenge will be rebuilding after the team’s 11 seniors graduate. With only five returning players, the varsity roster will be mostly rookies.