Warwick Beacon photo by William Geoghegan
ON THE MOVE: Vets' Lexy Santos-Smith looks to move the ball down the field.
Between them, they said awesome five times in a minute.
And who could blame them?
For the first time in a long time, something was awesome for the Warwick Vets field hockey team. Under a sunny fall sky on Monday afternoon at CCRI, the Hurricanes won. In the aftermath, captains Lauren Enos and Jenna O’Connell were still wrapping their heads around it.
“This is our first win since I started playing,” O’Connell said.
She’s a senior. It had been that long – the 2009 season.
No wonder it was awesome.
The ’Canes didn’t go crazy celebrating. They beat Toll Gate 6-0. The game was never in doubt. They scored three minutes in and didn’t look back.
But the feeling was special.
“It’s like we’re on top of the world,” Enos said.
They say that winning isn’t everything, and that’s absolutely true. Ten years from now, the Vets seniors will remember their field hockey careers fondly. They’ll remember the bus rides and the camaraderie and the competition. If they had gone another whole year without a win, those memories wouldn’t change.
But it sure is nice to win anyway.
For this team, it’s especially true, because all the losses the last two years never seemed fair. In perhaps the most misguided alignment move in a steady stream of bad moves, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League shifted Vets up to Division I before the 2010 season.
Some alignment moves push teams up to where they don’t belong. The ’Canes had that covered. Some schools have youth programs to draw from. For Vets, when freshmen pick up a stick at their first practice, it’s often their first time picking up a stick at all.
But the ’Canes had something else working against them – they hadn’t even had much recent success. The year before moving up, they went 2-11-2 in Division II. The year before that, they were 3-11-2. Sports at public schools go in cycles, and the ’Canes were in a down spell.
Somehow, they were bumped up anyway. Before it even started, anyone who knew anything about field hockey knew it wouldn’t work, and it didn’t. The Vets players worked hard. The numbers were pretty good.
On the field, it barely mattered. In two years, they tied one game. That was their best result.
Thankfully, a new round of alignment corrected the mistake, at least for Vets. Pilgrim, who’s in much the same boat as the ’Canes but had a little more success the last two years, remains in D-I. Hopefully, someday soon, the Pats will be back where they belong.
For now, it’s the ’Canes who get to celebrate.
It took them a while. They lost their first five games this year in Division II. They were competing but weren’t getting over the hump.
Finally, on Monday, it happened.
Talk is quickly turning to the next step for the ’Canes. They’ve shown they can hang with everybody in the division. Now that the seal is broken, they’re hoping the floodgates will open. They’re ready to make a run.
Whatever happens, though, they can always relish this win.
“It’s awesome,” head coach Jim Areson said.
You can say that again.
William Geoghegan is the sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and firstname.lastname@example.org.