by: Ryan Polistena ‘17 and Camryn Walsh ‘19, staff writers
With many of Bethel High School’s sports teams struggling to separate themselves from the competition this past fall season, our featured team, girls field hockey, broke out as the cream of the crop in the South-West Conference.
With an overall record of 10-6 and an in-conference record of 7-3, not only was field hockey the only team to finish with a winning record this fall, but they won the Patriot Division and were seeded second overall in the SWC tournament.
By scoring the second most points in the conference with 14 points and shutting out opposing teams in 8 of their 10 wins, the lady wildcats performed in some notable games; they shut out previously undefeated Immaculate, 2-0 at the Mustangs home field and narrowly lost a thriller in a clash between the top two seeds of the SWC when they fell to their rival Joel Barlow, 4-3. Unfortunately, their season ended with heartbreaking losses. They were upset in the quarterfinal of the SWC tournament against 7th seeded Watertown, who they defeated in the regular season, and lost in the first round of state playoffs and were defeated by New Canaan despite a valiant effort.
Two players were awarded All-state and All-SWC honors for their outstanding performances this season: Amanda Weiner ‘18 was named All-SWC and 2nd team All-State and Natalie Melvin ‘17 was named All-SWC and 1st team All-State. Led by Coach Katie Ciskowski and captains Danielle Canfield ‘17, Kallan Hook ‘17, Manuella Rios ‘17 , and Natalie Melvin ‘17, the field hockey team played a truly historic season.
In a featured interview, Bethel High School math teacher and head field hockey Coach Katie Ciskowski granted insights on the field hockey team’s tremendous season and what it means for the future. In her eyes, Coach Ciskowski stated that the 2016 field hockey team was so successful because the players, “all played together as a team,” and “seniors led the underclassmen in the off season so they came ready to play.” This was significant, as the team lost many of its key playmakers and leaders as seniors graduated last year, but “other people stepped up,” said Coach Ciskowski, “we did graduate a few and we did miss them, but other people did step up and filled their shoes.”
Oftentimes, losing key seniors can be devastating to a team, leaving them back in developmental stages for years, but clearly not field hockey. The team was no stranger to obstacles and hardships, facing injuries and tough losses throughout the season, but they demonstrated their resiliency by always fighting back. This was on display when they gave it their all against New Canaan playing it close until the end, even after the loss against Watertown. Graduating 8 starters, and 10 seniors, Coach Ciskowski is already planning for next season.
“They are strong leaders so the underclassmen need to just step up which I think that they can. They always do,” said Coach Ciskowski.
This will be a challenge to the Bethel field hockey team, but they will not let this stop them from being successful. The Bethel field hockey team is a strong, and determined team that does not let anything get in the way from fighting their hardest, and of course winning.
“You need to set goals for yourself on the field. You need to set goals for yourself in the classroom. You want to do the best you can do in your environment,” adds Ciskowski.