The field hockey season came to a chilly end for the Lady Indians at Sussex Tech last week as they fell to the Ravens, 2-1, closing out their year.
A dominating Tech team initiated the pace of the game, keeping the Indians on their toes. The Lady Ravens put two in the back of the cage before IR came back with a response. A late goal from Chelsea Rogers brought the Indians within one, but they were unable to finish before the final whistle blew.
A disappointing 2-11-3 record echoed the Indians’ fate this year, but all hope was not lost for first-year head coach Julene Williamson.
“It’s not quite the record you want to go out on,” she noted, expressing compassion toward her seven graduating seniors. “It was a tough one but, overall, the girls really played great, even if the record doesn’t show it.”
It took the Lady Indians nearly halfway through the season before they started answering opponents with shots on goal and in the back of the cage. Their first tie of the season came against Polytech, breaking a seven-game losing streak that started off the year. They quickly followed that up with their two wins, first at Lake Forest and then hosting Sussex Central. Near the end of the season, the Lady Indians held opponents Woodbridge and Laurel from scoring, resulting in two more ties.
“These girls really came out and played with all their heart,” Williamson added. “They gave it all they could in every single game but, unfortunately, we just couldn’t get all the goals we needed. These girls have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Williamson had acted as the assistant coach in the previous season but plans to return next year, giving the team the second consecutive head coaching staff run in three years.
“It’s not easy when you go through coaches as quickly as they had been,” she noted. “I’ve worked with these girls for a few years now. I know who understands what, and that’s going to help us next year.”
Returning next year, Williamson plans to have a larger crowd coming out for the team but will have some adjusting to do in the backfield.
“We’re losing our defense after this year,” she said. “We’ll really need to rebuild back there. There are going to be some big shoes that need to be filled.”
In addition to the unknown newcomers, Williamson said she might experiment and move some positions around – a strategy that proved efficient just before the team’s first win this season, when the front- and mid-lines adjusted their formation and rotation. She said she hopes that summer clubs and indoor leagues will keep most of the girls who aren’t tied up with other sports moving around in the off-season.
“For the most part,” she said, “I think everyone is looking forward to getting back. We can pretty much only go up from here.”