There was a new state field hockey champion in the Division 2 ranks for the first time in eight years last fall. Dennis-Yarmouth now will use that momentum to get through some big changes.
Last year’s assistant coach Karen Orlander takes the Dolphins helm again as head coach, a position she first held in the 1980s. A Dolphins field hockey legend, Orlander guided the team to its first state title in 1987. She has the background to face the challenge of losing six players to graduation and two more to the preps.
“We know that we are a new team, in that we lost so many starters, but hope to carry on the winning tradition of D-Y field hockey,” Orlander said. “We are playing many first-year varsity players who were part of a very strong JV program last year. What we lack in varsity experience, we make up for in our work ethic, dedication and athleticism.”
Playoff heroine Abby Hicks returns for her senior season as a forward/midfielder, and will serve as part of a quad captainship with goalie Delayna Gallagher, forward Lily Holmes and defender Ella Moriarty.
“They all showed up to preseason prepared for the challenge of leading a young team and are doing a great job,” Orlander said.
The Dolphins’ fellow Cape and South Coast field hockey programs should have another strong year. Fresh off its meeting with D-Y in the Div. 2 South title game, Cohasset returns 19-point scorer Molly Greer. Sandwich returns leading scorer Macey White, who moves to midfield, as well as 16 other players from last year’s Div. 2 South semifinal campaign. Monomoy, which won last year’s Cape & Islands title, boasts a slew of young threats.
The legendary Watertown program always will be a threat in Div. 2 North. But there will be plenty of challenges to the Raiders this season, with Manchester Essex returning key scoring and Gloucester having the talents of dynamic junior forward Mia Salah. Lynnfield and Weston also will be worth watching in the section.
After losing a heartbreaker in overtime in the Div. 1 North semifinal to Andover, Natick hopes to be back in the postseason action this fall, led by senior tri-captains Erin Quir, Victoria Norchi and Brooklyn Lamb.
“By making it so far last year, we have raised our expectations for our team,” Red Hawks coach Ann Burnes said. “We now want to and expect to make it beyond where we did last year. That disappointment stays with you and fuels you to work harder both as coaches and players.”
Undefeated Div. 1 state champion Somerset Berkley will look to make a deep run again thanks to the return of its powerhouse duo of senior forward Lucas Crook and junior forward Cami Crook. Also in the South, keep an eye on Franklin‘s strong defense led by Maeve Ledwith and Walpole‘s power led by multi-sport dynamo Sydney Scales.
Thanks to the field hockey crazy Tri-Towns, Masconomet will look to repeat as Div. 1 North champion behind senior midfielder Mak Graves, who scored 13 goals and 15 assists last season. Winchester has spunk behind forward Mia Legere. Longtime coach Mae Shoemaker always has her Acton-Boxboro team in contention.
Andover should be the class of the Merrimack Valley Conference again, returning Hannah Medwar, who tallied 10 goals and 16 assists in the Golden Warriors run to the Div. 1 North final. North Andover, Methuen and Chelmsford all have potential and will make the MVC one of the deepest leagues in the sport.