The field hockey game was a miserable experience. The hurricane that landed here last week-suddenly, after a violent heat wave, coincided with the game, and nobody told me this was going to happen. That was okay though. We won.
This is good because the girls were pretty excited. The captains Renee Heath, Amy Ouellette, and Deedra Beveridge talked to me after the game. They were riding the euphoric high of victory. They didn’t notice the wind-all smiles from them.
Ouellette, an all conference player as a sophomore last year was elected captain. She admitted that St. Joseph’s team is kind of a shabby group, but the victory was rewarding nonetheless.
The USM team graduated six seniors last season, a crucial chunk of the roster and are having somewhat of a rebuilding season. The freshmen outnumber the upperclassmen. Experience at the collegiate level is not an easy thing to come across on this team.
The ladies said that they work hard in practice and hope to outlast the other teams. Admittedly their skill level is still in the developmental stage. They want to be intense and in great shape so they will be able to outrun other teams and never let up.
The only goal of the day was scored by Darci Holland, a Junior from Buckfield. After she scored about midway through the first half USM remained on the attack, out shooting St. Joseph’s 11 to 2. It must be quite comforting for a goalie to only have a couple of shots come at you in the game. The heavy defensive drilling in practice that the trio of Captains described as, “savage pounding,” proved beneficial because their defense over-powered the opposition.
The captains were very quick to tell me that they had an All-American in the net. Jesse Superchi, the returning goalkeeper from Campton, New Hampshire has the faith of her team. It is obviously because of her last name. It has a supernatural ring, like something out of a George Lucas film. Super Chi.use the force.the goalie is sitting blind folded while her entire team drills balls at her and she does not even allow them within ten feet of the net. This would be interesting. She has presence in there and does the job, superpowers excluded.
The ladies said that their goal for the season would be to make the NCAA tournament. This would make them more successful than last years team that made the ECAC semi-finals, a tournament described by Heath as a consolation to the NCAA tourney.
Heath is a senior on the team, a rare entity. So she tries to provide intensity in her leadership to help the younger players adjust to the step up from high school. With such a strong foundation of freshman, Renee calls this a rebuilding year of sorts because they will gain much experience. This victory, their first of the year bringing them to an even record of 1 win 1 loss was a positive experience. We can only hope that there will be more to follow.
Leaving the game satisfied that I had all of the facts down, there was a sudden rumble and a player from St. Joes accosted me. I was unsure what to think. The entire field was clear, sparing a couple of parents conversing about the game with their daughters scattered around the field fifty-yards or so away. I was alone and vulnerable.
“I’m sorry miss, I’m reporting on the Huskey team. I don’t know where your school’s representative from the press is. I am part of the USM FREE PRESS.”
“Well, I’m into journalithm mythelf,” she said to me, slurring and spitting because she hadn’t removed her mouthpiece.
“Well good for you.”
“Don’t you want the thory to come from both teamth?”
“Why not? What do you have for me?”
She said nothing. She bent her head back and spit her mouthpiece out. It went to an altitude of twenty feet, and was thrown in the vicious wind. She chased it down, the black object falling from the sky, and kicked it up again with her boot. Then behind her back, kicked it again. Then juggled it several times in a quick fashion on her stick, rotating the stick and the mouthpiece; finally stalling the thing on the end of her stick with amazing composure and skill. Next she flicked it up at a tremendous speed, catching it in her mouth, perfectly aligned with her teeth. She smiled black. “How’th that fa newth?”
I looked at her and scratched the back of my neck with a pen. “Go home.”
I was scared and walked away. The game was over and we won. Our girls were satisfied, for the time being, by their victory. The other team was still trying to compete for positive attention. This could mean bitter rivalry.obsession with competition.the stuff that makes sports interesting.