Field hockey team becomes Pod 8 champions with ten successful seniors


Joe Lamburn

Senior Day Ruffo advances the ball to the net. The varsity field hockey team went on to beat Shrewsbury 1-0 and take the Pod 8 championship during this game.

Jenny Lambert, Sports Editor

Led by ten senior players, the field hockey team overcame challenges playing their games with less players on the field and ended their season as Pod 8 champions. 

The girls defeated Shrewsbury 1-0 in double overtime of the Pod 8 finals on Nov. 14.

Senior captains Macey Poitras-Cote and Kerryn O’Connell worked hard to lead their team in an unusual year. However, they had the rest of the seniors, who made up the majority of the team, right behind them. Seniors Day Ruffo, Bryn Coghlin, Erin Desmond, Libby Alford, Heather Hodgkins, Anna Riordan, Sophia Cavallo and Katie Holmes all made a large impact on the team as well.

“I think every game is a full team effort, even if you’re on the sidelines cheering it really helps and uplifts the people that are on the field so much,” Poitras-Cote said. “In 7v7 you get so tired in the first minute you play, so it’s great to feed off of other people’s energy from the sidelines.”

In order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, the team had to adjust their gameplay by switching from 11 to seven players on the field. According to Poitras-Cote, this was the biggest adjustment for the seniors, as they were so used to playing a different way for the past three years. However Coghlin said the team adapted well.

“The team did a great job adjusting to the new circumstances,” Coghlin said. “We also never gave up and worked as hard as we could until the last second of double overtime in our final game.”

Poitras-Cote credits their goalie, Desmond, with much of the team’s success.

“Erin Desmond was really strong this year,” Poitras-Cote said. “It’s hard for goalies because a lot of their training usually happens in the off-season and this year we were unsure if she got a lot of training this summer because of COVID, but she came out and was really confident. She was an awesome goalie this year.”

Coghlin agrees that Desmond was a key player on the field.

“Erin saved us in so many games,” Coghlin said. ”She truly stepped up this season and we would not have won without her.”

The seniors are not the only ones calling this season their last, science teacher and coach Dan Welty has announced this will be his last season as he will be moving on from coaching after 19 years. 

“He’s taught us literally everything that we know and every year it’s all about doing things to impress him,” senior Libby Alford said. “He’s all that I’ve ever known as a coach. He’s always been so great. He brought us to the championship my freshman year then again this year so he’s always been super encouraging with everything.”

Welty will cherish the connections he has made over the years with this specific group of girls.

  “I’ve known so many of these girls since they were in seventh grade when they did my club team,” Welty said. “Seeing them come up through the program has been great. When I saw them in seventh grade I knew they were a great group of girls. To see ten of them make varsity was just awesome.”

Poitras-Cote and O’Connell made sure they could make this season as special as possible by encouraging team spirit.

“I want to shout out the captains, Kerryn and Macey, for doing everything they could do to make this season special and keep everyone happy,” Coughlin said.

Each senior made an impact both on and off the field. However, Ruffo’s season was record-setting. In a game against Wachusett on Nov. 11, Ruffo set the school record for most career field hockey points, with 89 points. She finished with 96 career points by the end of the season.

“Day contributed so much this season,” Poitras-Cote said. “She got the record, which was huge.”

Because of the 7v7 restriction, some players had to play in a position they were not particularly used to. 

“Bryn had never played mid before and we needed a mid so she stepped up…and she was phenomenal,” Poitras-Cote said. “Especially because it’s so hard; this year midfield had to run from endline to endline for the whole game. Bryn really stepped up with her stamina and speed and could beat even the biggest players on the other teams.”

Although they made up most of the team, the seniors were not the only ones who made a big impact this season.

“[Junior] Sabrina Ferro, has beat Wachusett by scoring the winning goal in the semifinal game two years in a row,” Poitras-Cote said. “She has pushed us to go to the finals two years in a row. That was definitely super cool to see happen twice.”

While Poitras-Cote will continue her field hockey career at Wheaton College, for most seniors, this season will be their last playing.

“I don’t have anything but kind words to say about each member on my team and I am so grateful field hockey’s brought us together,” Coghlin said. “I also will miss playing. I don’t know yet if I will try out for [a] club team in college or end my career in high school. It is sad to think I don’t have another season to prepare for.”

Despite this season’s new challenges Coghlin is grateful for the experience.

“I just want to emphasize how appreciative I am to everyone who made this season happen and to everyone who made it so wonderful,” Coghlin said. “We were fortunate to play at all and I will forever be grateful I got to have my senior season.”

Welty is proud of all ten seniors and the team in general.

“They all contributed this season, it was amazing to see them all,” Welty said. “We had league MVPs and all-stars obviously contributing as we expected but we also had girls who weren’t starters last season coming in this season and playing amazing with great spirit. That group collectively had a huge impact on the team and on each other for all these years that they’ve been together.”