Young Field Hockey Team Looking To Make Some Noise
By Christopher Tremblay Staff Sports Writer
Coach Shelly Hynes is entering her third year at the helm of the Hopedale field hockey team and although the squad has only one senior, the Blue Raiders are looking to do some damage in the Dual Valley Conference.
“We graduated six seniors, 4 whom were staters, and have only one senior on this year’s team,” Hynes said. “There is no one superstar; in order for our team to succeed all 15 girls are going to have to not only work together, but trust and learn from each other.”
Defender, most likely, Ari Kotopoulos is Hopedale’s one and only senior this fall. In addition to being one of the four quad-captains, Hynes is penciling the senior in on defense, although no one has actually locked up anything as of yet as tryouts were still in progress at the time of this writing. Kotopoulos has been with the varsity squad since her sophomore campaign and is a very solid defender who should bring leadership to the backfield.
The three other captains are juniors Lizzie Brytowski, the team’s starting goalie since her freshman year; Emma Gosselin, a center-midfielder who has been playing on the varsity since eighth grade. She is also probably the strongest and most talented individual on the field for Hopedale. She, like the final captain, Alyssa MacNeil, play field hockey for club team Premier. MacNeil has graced the varsity team since her freshman year playing forward and has aspirations of continuing to play field hockey in college.
Hynes is looking for her captains to lead by example both on and off the field, while being an extension of the coaching staff in terms of communication. She is also hoping that they become role models and support the younger players.
Other returners to the field this fall will be junior forwards Abbie Aldrich and Alexis Abbruzzese. Aldrich has been developing nicely according to the coach, and Abbruzzese, who was not a starter last year but did see a lot of action, should find herself in a starting role for the Blue Raiders. The coach is hoping that April Dresseier, another junior, will see more time on defense this fall and develop into that role.
As freshmen last fall playing in their first season, Hopedale will have now sophomores Emily Frohn in the midfield and Leah Hodgdon playing defense. Hynes is hoping both take a step forward this year.
Another athlete with experience will be transfer student Victoria Miranda. Coming over from Blackstone Millville, she was quite a surprise for Hynes.
“From what she has told me, she plays midfield and forward,” the Hopedale Coach said. “Most likely we’ll use her in the midfield as that is where she is needed. I have only seen her play a few days, but I have seen that she is a hard worker and has a great attitude.”
Hopedale will also have two other juniors, both who saw junior varsity action last year, move up to the top squad. Defenders Mia Terenzi and Sarah Hunt will patrol the defense for the Blue Raiders and according to their coach both have good attitudes, while developing their skills so they belong on the varsity team. Hynes also noted that both girls understand their roles and playing time.
Rounding out the 2022 team will be sophomore Olivia McGovern, a defender and midfielder who played on the JV team last fall and eighth-graders Alexis Carroll (forward) and Layla Huntley (defense). The field hockey coach noted that both girls played JV and are good athletes and will be much better served on the varsity team where they can continue to learn.
Although the season had yet to begin at press time, Hynes is looking to be competitive once again in addition to placing at the top of the DVC, earning themselves a spot in the post season.
Last fall Hopedale started off relatively slow until they found their groove and ended up finishing 9-7-2 to earn themselves a number 18 seed in the Division 4 State Championship. Hynes is hoping that the girls can pick up some wins earlier in the season this year and in order to do that the team is going to need to support one another while playing their roles.
If the Blue Raiders play to their potential and can stay close to their ranked opponents this fall with the MIAA’s power rankings, they should once again be able to advance into the tournament.
The Blue Raiders, who play their home games on grass, have five turf games scheduled this season which, according to the coach, is great for the team but it actually puts them at a disadvantage having to play a much faster game. Nonetheless, she feels the squad will be successful this fall.