(Aug. 30, 2019) The girls on Stephen Decatur’s field hockey team have drive and determination to be successful this season.
“The girls have a lot of heart. They want to win so bad,” said Decatur Coach Amy Matthews. “They love the sport of field hockey. They’re always playing. They want to show everybody what they can do.”
Eleven of the 16 players on Matthews’ roster competed last year when the team went 1-12. The Lady Seahawks lost in the first round of playoffs.
“They are very determined. I think we do have a lot of skills,” the sixth-year coach said. “They’re coachable and they want to learn. The girls work well as a team and they’re starting to jell.”
Matthews said the team has depth with “a lot of girls who we can put anywhere on the field.”
Things are slowly coming together, she added, with a few spots left to fill. She is still determining who will best fit into each position.
She will rely heavily on two of the returners to lead the team – seniors Ava Bullock (center midfield) and Haley Triplett (center forward).
Both have been on the team since their freshmen year.
They earned Bayside Conference Second Team honors for their performance last year.
“I’m just really excited because there’s a lot of us who have been playing together for four years,” Bullock said. “I see so much potential. With six seniors, there’s a lot of leadership. We have a good core group of leaders.”
Bullock said most of the players participated in summer workouts, which has paid off.
“I feel like with the summer practices we’re doing a lot better,” Triplett added. “I think me and Ava are trying to get the girls on track just by helping them [and] encouraging them.”
Sophomore forward Skylar Griffin is also back. She received Bayside Honorable Mention accolades last year.
Matthews said she sees potential in the new players. They are athletic and are picking up the field hockey skills quickly.
“The girls are really pushing themselves,” Matthews said.
“All of the girl are giving it their all. I don’t see any slacking,” Triplett added.
Matthews said one of the goals this year is for the girls to play smart on the field, “to think about where the pass needs to go and who is open.”
“They can do it in practice, we just need to implement it in a game,” she said.
Players and coaches are looking forward to playing on the school’s new turf field inside the stadium.
Field hockey games have always been played on their practice field.
“This is huge. We’re so excited to play on the turf,” Matthews said. “We’ve never played in the stadium so it makes it more real for them.”
Bullock is confident the team will do better than last season.
“Hopefully we can win a few more games than we normal do. I definitely think we have the potential to do that,” she said.
“We want to score some more goals even if we don’t win and to have fun most of all,” Triplett added.
Decatur’s first game is against the James M. Bennett Clippers on Friday, Sept. 6 in Salisbury.