Roster Is Thin, But Field Hockey’s Talent Is Not
By: Rich Maclone
There’s not a tightrope in sight, but it’s clear that Falmouth High School Head Coach Janey Norton will be experiencing a balancing act all season long. While the talent of the FHS field hockey team is on par with past teams, which means that the maroon and white should certainly be in the mix for the Atlantic Coast League championship this year, Falmouth’s overall numbers are down in terms of total players
Norton, whose players can attest to the fact that she likes to make sure that they’re in good shape come opening day, said that her club’s health is a concern this year. A couple of injuries could become big stumbling blocks along that high wire, so the coach is trying to keep things on an even keel.
“On one hand, you want them ready to go, but you don’t want to wear them out. You want to get them into shape, but you don’t want to hurt them. We’re not very deep this year, so we’ve got to be careful that we don’t overdo it,” the veteran coach said.
Several players are already injured and have uncertain status as the club looks to its September 10 opening game. Rachel Foley is out for the season, and Jordan Willis and Eva Callahan are both on the shelf to start as well. While they may not be very deep, the Clippers are definitely talented, with several important cogs from last year’s state tournament team which upset Hingham on the road before bowing to Sandwich in a tough 1-0 quarterfinal game. Two of the team’s top offensive threats, senior captain Amy Wilson and sophomore Maddi Haberl, will lead the midfield unit. Haberl will start in the middle of the field and is a speed burner with a nose for the net. Wilson is a reliable player who stabilizes things well and is a good decision maker. Athletic Tommi Gans, a sophomore, will see plenty of time on the right side of the midfield and classmate Olivia Beaton is also slated to see time there.
“I think our biggest strength is our cohesiveness,” Norton said. “Our numbers are way down so I think this team really has to stick together. We’ve got a lot of moving parts and players, and they really seem to like each other which is good,” Norton said.
Norton said that the forward line will be a rotating cast of characters and that a true starting lineup has yet to assert itself. Senior captain Julia Dalton, who had a couple of big games last year, leads that group with several strong forwards also in the mix. Seniors Kali Kelley, Caroline Estes and Jessica Backholm, who is nursing an injury, all look to make impacts. Also fighting for time in the rotation are juniors Anna Losordo and Lauren Adams as well as sophomores Maggie MacDonald, Kayla Dimond and Rachel Moore. Dalton and MacDonald look to be the anchors of the four forward rotation, but there is certainly plenty of room for others to step in and earn copious playing time.
Co-captain Jenna Clarkson will anchor the defense, which will receive extra help from overflow players on the forward line. Emilie Willis also will be in the backfield and senior Taylor “Fuzzy” Sullivan will handle the sweeper duties. A pair of sophomores are vying for the starting goaltender position. Ashley Lima and Mary Negri, who transferred back to Falmouth after a year at Bishop Stang, have both had solid preseason showings and hope to be the team’s No. 1 when the squad hosts rival Barnstable a week from Monday in the first game of the season.
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