MORETOWN – With the season well underway for local field hockey teams, one local team has had to wait a little longer to get its year in full swing. Defending Division II champions Harwood has played only two games so far this season, while most teams have played at least four.
“It’s the way the schedule has worked out this season unfortunately,” said Highlanders’ head coach Heidi Hill. “My kids are ready to go and anytime you have time off in between games, it could cause issues.”
The lack of early season games means that Harwood will have a couple of weeks where the team has to play back to back, not an ideal situation, Hill said. But despite the lack of games, the coach says her team is not focused on the issues that could arise. Instead the team work on being prepared for the games that are coming up this week as they look to defend their state title.
Logjam in D-1
A look at the standings in D-I reveals very little breathing room for field hockey’s top teams. While Mount Anthony and South Burlington sit at the top with no losses, there is not much space between them and the team that sits in the eighth spot, Essex, at 2-2.
One major reason for the tight standings is graduation.
“I think that there is a natural attrition that come from gradaution,” said Champlain Valley head coach Kate McDonald. “Look at Middlebury. They were state champs and they are certainly feeling the affects of losing that senior class.”
Another reason that McDonald thinks the competition has leveled out is that all players have the opportunity to play in the off-season, something that increases the skill of all teams.
“Opportunities for off-season work outs, camps, clinics, has just exploded,” said McDonald. “Every town has girls that play in the off-season, it changes the team. Off-season opportunities are a great equalizer.”
McDonald also thinks that the parity that exists right now will continue throughout the season; all the teams are just too evenly matched.
“I can’t see it changing much,” said McDonald. “It could come down to a one game difference between hosting or being in the top four or the bottom four. It’s exciting and great for field hockey.”
Harwood Union High School is part of a national program, and the first in Vermont, sponsored by USA Field Hockey to help promote field hockey to young girls.
On the next several Thursdays, from 3 to 4:15 p.m., Harwood is hosting Intro to Field Hockey clinics for fifth and sixth-grade girls.
Former Harwood standout Katarina Lisaius will lead games and skill drills. The clinics will run on Thursday, Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and Oct. 11.