Field Hockey’s Persistence Kindles Success

BY JENNIFER BANH staff writer

The junior varsity (JV) and varsity girls’ field hockey teams are striving to reach their highest potential this season. A game at Redwood kicked off their seasons on August 31.

Senior varsity players Maeve Gallagher and Aida Baron have both been playing field hockey since freshman year.  They are both excited to get back on the field and enjoy their last fall season at Berkeley High School with their teammates. Gallagher is the co-captain this year.

When asked what she was looking forward to, Gallagher said, “spending time with my teammates and scoring some goals.” Baron said she’s “excited for the team to succeed.”

Both players enjoy the closeness of the team, but challenges make the team’s hope for success difficult. “Scheduling games is an issue because we’re not in a league [anymore] so it’s hard to get teams to play us. That’s what’s making our season really short,” she said. If the team is able to join a league, it would mean increased competition, more matches each week, and travel to away games. Gallagher gave the reason for the increased travel, “the league that we would play in is in the South Bay,” she said.

The Yellowjackets had to adjust to having only one coach for both jv and varsity after the former varsity instructor left last season. Stepping into the role of varsity coach on top of her new duties to guide both the two teams,  Carly Thompson is trying her hardest to have her players develop individual skills as a team. In her third year coaching, she hopes to have a good season. Coach Thompson enjoys field hockey as it was a big part of her college experience, and believes that the sport is a good combination of fun and challenging.

Adapting as the coach of both JV and varsity has not been easy for Coach Thompson. “The biggest disappointment to me is not being able to spend more time with each team … There is so much potential on each team and these players are not getting the attention they need and deserve,” she said. Thompson then went on to say that, ideally, there should be more instructors such as assistant coaches for additional benefit and at least one separate coach for each team. For the girls’ field hockey teams to progress in skill, there needs to be a larger athletic staff for the sport. Coach Thompson said that “the best teams we play have large coaching staffs.” Just one coach is not adequate for the improvement that the team would like to see. Due to this, the field hockey program suffers and players cannot develop to their full potential.

Although the staff is more organized than four years ago, as noted by Gallagher and Baron, it is evident from Coach Thompson that more changes needs to be made in the future. Coach Thompson remains optimistic for the Yellowjackets to finish the season strong and improve from last year.

Thompson puts in effort to raise the level of both teams to that of the well-performing programs in the South Bay.

Junior varsity and varsity teams still have several games left. Their hard work and dedication will be shown on October 4 at the last home game. Come out at 4 PM for varsity and 5:15 PM for jv to support our girls.