The first official practice for the Medway High field hockey team is Thursday, Aug. 23.
Nearly a month earlier, Mackenzie Quigley and her Mustang teammates were working out on the school’s turf field during a captains’ practice.
Sticks clacked against the hard ball. There were shouts, jokes, and a few chuckles between passes and shots on goal in the late July sun. Players sprinting sideline to sideline, sweat flowing in the hot summer sun, hope this is the start of making a long run in the MIAA tournament in November.
“The captains’ practices really help those who are just coming into high school and those who have just recently started field hockey,” said Quigley, a rising senior captain who has verbally committed to playing collegiately at Stonehill.
“It helps the team really start to bond and get ready for the season.”
The Tuesday and Thursday night sessions are the starting point for a Medway squad that has high aspirations after losing to Cohasset in the quarterfinals of the Division 2 South tourney last fall.
“I believe this year, we should be going further [in the tournament],” said Quigley, the reigning Tri-Valley League MVP.
“Everyone from our families and everyone at school believes we can.”
She also plays club field hockey for Lead the Way’s Under-19 squad.
Emily Dawson, a rising senior and cocaptain to Quigley, is excited about how the team is coming together during captains’ practice. She called the sessions “lots of fun and hard work.”
Dawson plays club for the U-19 New England Strikers, who captured the gold medal at the annual Nutmeg Games in Connecticut last month.
Between club play, captains’ practices, and individual skills practice, Dawson figures she plays three to five times a week.
Needham senior Callie Hem was Bay State Carey MVP last fall. A two-sport standout, she will play lacrosse at Northwestern.
With the field hockey season approaching, how does she maintain a balance with lacrosse in the spring?
“Lacrosse [offseason training] is mostly in July, so during August I practice field hockey and it doesn’t conflict with lacrosse,” said Hem.
She recently attended a four-day camp at Northwestern with a number of her future lacrosse teammates. Now it’s back to field hockey.
“I’m not worried I will be behind,” said Hem. “There are many opportunities in August to work on field hockey and I have been doing some practice on my own throughout the summer.”
Conditioning and fitness are part of her everyday routine. Hem focuses on stickwork three to four times per week.
Megan Salsinha, the reigning South Coast field hockey MVP from Somerset Berkley Regional, is never idle too long.
At the Bay State Games, she tallied a tourney-best nine goals in five games, leading the Coastal squad to a runner-up finish.
The UMass-Lowell commit and her S-B teammates played in the Durfee League every Monday evening this summer.
“It gives us a good idea of what we have to face in the upcoming season,” said Salsinha, who recorded the highest goals per game average (2.1) in Eastern Mass. last fall, netting 32 goals and 20 assists in 15 games.
The Blue Raiders are motivated after falling to King Philip, 1-0, in last year’s Division 1 South final. There’s been captains’ practices twice per week.
Salsinha also is in the midst of her fifth season playing for Allegiance Field Hockey club, which won the Shooting Stars tourney in Taunton on June 28.
“Usually we do fairly well in tournaments,” said Salsinha. “We have two other girls on this team that are Division 1 [college] commits.”Joe Rice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.