By ALEX SPONSELLER The defending Division III State Champion Pilgrim field hockey team has a new look this fall as it moves up to Division II and looks to claim another title. The Lady Pats return just four seniors from last year's title run, but have a
By ALEX SPONSELLER The defending Division III State Champion Pilgrim field hockey team has a new look this fall as it moves up to Division II and looks to claim another title.
The Lady Pats return just four seniors from last year’s title run, but have a whopping 11 juniors who are ready to step up into prominent roles in the lineup.
“We only have four seniors but we have 11 juniors. We have a sophomore goalie in Colby Lavoie. We are excited, we have girls that are excited to step up into those roles. A couple of our juniors have experience, but we are going to need at least a few of them to step up as starters,” said Pilgrim coach Stephanie Shields.
The team has also been adjusting to the new atmosphere created by the ongoing pandemic. However, senior Olivia Paquet feels that the team has already gotten used to the changes.
“I think that we are all trying to come together to understand what is happening. It’s been an adjustment for everyone and getting in the swing of things. I think we’re doing better than we expected,” said Paquet.
The senior core is happy to have its final season and feels appreciative for the opportunity.
“We’re grateful. We didn’t expect to have a season at all so we are all really glad to be able to come together as a team and to play this year,” said Jaylin Pillier.
Fellow senior Lydia Ramsden added: “I’m just happy that we can play, to have our senior year, we’re all just so happy. We’re just going to try to make the most of the season and play as well as we can. You never know what can happen, so we’re just going to try to make the most of it.”
The key to Pilgrim’s success could end up being the development of the juniors, who make up the majority of the team. Senior Gracie McGrath has been encouraged by what the juniors have brought to the table and will be relying on them along with the other three senior leaders.
“Over the last few weeks of practice, I definitely have seen the juniors step up. Even if they didn’t play a lot last year, you can definitely see how much they have improved and how bad they want to play,” said McGrath.
Although the Pats will be facing stiff competition in their new division, Pillier feels that the team’s championship experience and short term memory will help them compete with any team they face.
“Winning a championship is something that we really want, but I feel like it is the same as last year. We aren’t going to be cocky, we aren’t going to just expect it, we’re still going to work hard,” said Pillier.
“They’re confident,” added Shields. “But they know that we have a lot of work to do. Especially since we’re moving up a division, so we will be seeing teams that we haven’t played in a few years. In a season like this, safety precautions and making sure everyone is safe is first. Then after that, it’s about getting back to field hockey. We didn’t have an injury fund game, we didn’t have scrimmages, so it’s going to be tough going into the season since we don’t know exactly what we have. But we’re taking it one day at a time. Once you get back onto the field, beside the masks, it’s right back to where you were.”
The Pats dropped their opener against Tiverton last weekend, 3-1. Paquet scored Pilgrim’s lone goal while Lavoie recorded six saves in the cage. The Pats faced rival Toll Gate on Wednesday afternoon, but the results were not available at press time.