Field Hockey’s Successful Seasons

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Ajay Allman, Reporter

Winning the state championship last year and coming in second this year, our school’s girl’s field hockey team has dominated the Virginia High School League’s (VHSL) Class 6 state field hockey tournament. Under the leadership of Head Coach Olivia Shipley, the Northern Region’s 2021 Coach of the Year, the team has experienced a streak of strong seasons.

The team reached the state tournament in their past three seasons, but their feats during the 2021-2022 season are unmatched. Along with being crowned the district and region champion, the girls took the title of Virginia Class 6 field hockey state champions for the first time in our school’s history. Up against the Western Branch Bruins, the team won the finals 1-0. 

This year, the team went into the season with a new mindset. Senior Morgan Stone, captain and goalie, helped set up this outlook. 

“This year we just tried to play our own season separate from last year and try to accomplish what we did the year before, without setting any expectations for ourselves,” Stone said. 

This mindset was clearly effective, as the team continued its success into the 2022-2023 season. They were undefeated in the playoffs until the state championship game, losing to the Fairfax Lions 1-0. The girls fought a hard game against a tough opponent. As a field hockey athlete and former Patriot, Shipley understands the hard work and dedication it takes to reach the level the team has achieved. 

“Practice six days a week is a huge commitment, and they have to miss out on a lot of stuff, so to get that reward of winning [last year] was kind of a big deal. Then, to do it all again this year, even though we didn’t win, was exciting in itself,” Shipley said.

Our state runner-up team also defended past titles by winning the competitive Liberty District and Northern Region championships.

In the district tournament, the girls won against the Langley Saxons 3-1 and the Washington-Liberty Generals 5-0, continuing their district champion legacy. Additionally, the team beat the South Lakes Seahawks 2-1 to win the Northern Region championship, upholding their regional position from last season.

This abundance of accomplishments throughout the past few years displays the incredible talent in our school’s field hockey team. A key factor to the girls’ continued success is their strong connection. A part of this sisterhood, Stone experiences the strong dynamic firsthand.

“It’s a big team of twenty-two girls, but it doesn’t feel that way because of how close we are. Anyone can talk to anyone about anything, and there’s just no weird awkwardness between everyone. We are just like sisters,” Stone said. 

Their team bond is cultivated through the extensive amount of time they spend together in and out of practice. Requiring a commitment of time and energy, the girls’ developed dynamic shows on the field. 

“They trust each other, so that is a big part—especially in games. They want each other to do well, and they want their best to be shown,” Shipley said. 

The field hockey team is unique in its bond and beliefs; they are extremely superstitious. Whether it’s braiding specific patterns in their hair or having to keep their pre-game warmups consistent, the girls are especially meticulous in their actions leading up to games. A well-known tradition in our school’s community is gameday breakfast at the local bagel shop Chesapeake Bagel Bakery before each game. 

“The bagels are a big one. We’ve been doing that since I went to Yorktown, so it’s really cool to see that that’s still a thing,” Shipley said. 

The field hockey team played unprecedented triumphant back-to-back seasons. Along with the hard work and dedicated athletes that make up the team, their strong friendship has further boosted their success. Congratulations and good luck to our field hockey team in the upcoming seasons.