By: Trisha Brahmachari — National/International Editor
COVID-19 has impacted interscholastic sports across the Commonwealth. Factors such as safety and protection from the virus came into play, and sports such as football, cheerleading, and volleyball were all cancelled for the fall season.
Field hockey was allowed to play with modifications, and the Sharon field hockey team has major plans to ensure that their season will be successful. “We all have the drive it takes for a successful season, so I hope to see the hard work pay off,” said Captain Ashley Young.
After COVID-19 flipped our daily lives upside down, the virus has undoubtedly thrown a few challenges to the team. “Covid has definitely impacted our seasons in many ways, starting off with figuring out if a season would even occur…,” said captain Jillian Parker.
Captain Samantha Sherman says that Covid-19 has caused a lot of changes in the sport, such as only having 7 players on the field wearing masks and not allowing hand shakes with the other team after games. “Fans are not allowed to go to away games,” said Sherman.
Young says that COVID-19 has impacted the way the game is played on the field. “Instead of 11 players per team on the field, we now have 7 which changes the game from playing by positions to more of a one-on-one game with players on the opposing team. In addition, they have gotten rid of penalty corners which dramatically changes the way the game is played,” she added.
“This makes for a largely more high intensity game which all the teams have to adapt to,” added Freshman Coach Kelly Kosmadakis.
In addition to changes in the game itself, a whole new set of rules has been put in place to minimize the spread of the virus. “We wear masks on top of mouth guards and goggles which means we have a lot going on. It makes it a lot harder to breathe so players get winded much more easily,” said Young.
Captain Yesha Sharma says the mask mandate has made it so much harder to run and conduct drills without getting tired easily. “Furthermore, the guidelines to socially distance have been difficult, especially if you have friends that play on the team too,” said Sharma.
In addition, COVID-19 has had an effect on team bonding. Young says it’s harder to connect with girls on other teams. “As much as it is a team sport, it has become more individualized since we aren’t allowed to interact as much as we used to,” Young added.
“It is hard for team bonding to take place because of the virus, but we will make the most of it,” added Sharma.
Sharon High Field Hockey, is finding ways to adapt to and take control of COVID-19. To accommodate the mask mandate, increasing endurance is a major goal for the team this season. “We are running a lot more in practice with our masks to build up our endurance,” said Sherman.
Varsity Coach Paulina Kosmadakis says this season has changed because at the start of every practice, the players are all expected to run anywhere between 1-2 miles. “Every drill incorporates running and players are encouraged to be running off the field too,” added Coach Paulina.
The majority of the freshman team is new to the sport, says Coach Kelly. “For many freshmen in the Sharon Field Hockey Program this is their first time picking up a field hockey stick. My goal as their coach is to create a strong, basic foundation of how the game of field hockey is played. This includes the handling of their stick, dribbling the ball, and passing (both push and drives),” said Coach Kelly.
“I want the freshman team to fall in love with the sport,” added Sherman.
Another huge goal for the team is to get rid of the negative perception of Sharon Field Hockey.
“I think for many years now, our program as a whole has been overlooked instead of being seen for the true talent that we have,” said Coach Paulina.
Junior varsity Coach Natalie Kosmadakis knows how being in a Sharon Field Hockey Jersey comes with an underdog mentality. “As a graduate of Sharon High School and a former athlete of the Sharon Field Hockey Program, I understand the struggle of being an underdog … My hopes for the team are to not only continue a strong foundation defensively but, to create an environment where offensive play is a possibility,” added Kosmadakis
Young says that in the last few years we have been considered a joke to the rest of the Hock, an easy team to beat. “However this year I want other teams heading into our games a little nervous, knowing that we are going to put up a good fight and will stay in the game the whole time,” added Young.