Hudson field hockey: seniorladen, but not experienced
Hudson – Seniors and inexperience. It's not a combination that often goes together, but it is the conundrum that faced Hawks field hockey coach Kathy Ekdahl entering this season.
"We're an older team, but we're not a real experienced team," Ekdahl said. "I have a lot of seniors, 15, and seven were starters last year, but the others, though, have had very little playing time in their varsity careers. This will be a challenging year for us."
Challenging, perhaps, but don't take that to mean unsuccessful, as Hudson has started the season 2-2-1, a stark contrast to last season's 0-3-3 beginning.
The Hawks' bevy of seniors are led by captains Nikki Meuse, who patrols the midfield, and Marla Caram, the team's goalie who is starting between the pipes for the third straight season. Caram, in an eff ort to improve her game, traveled to Australia with a team of Central Massachusetts players over the summer for a week of clinics and tournaments.
Other returning senior starters for Hudson are Rose Mullane, Megan Avery, Sarah Matthews, Lauren Brecken and Sarah Sprague.
Mullane is a center midfielder who directs the off ense, Avery is a forward, Matthews is a center back who spearheads the Hawks' defensive eff ort, Brecken is a three-year starter at back, and Sprague is a three-year starter at sweep, where she has formed a bond with Caram.
Juniors returning to the starting lineup are center forward Jackie Bonner and back Sarah Caragian.
"Jackie is a highly skilled offensive player with a great shot, while Sarah is the fastest player on the team," Ekdahl said. "I think when people think of defense in field hockey they think that's where the slower players are positioned, but I believe fast defense generates off ense."
Also in the starting lineup is junior Ari Silva, in the midfield, as well as senior Brittany Cormier and freshman Janelle Curtis, who alternate starting at a forward spot.
"Brittany didn't play a lot last year because of the forwards that were in front of her, but she has really stepped up this year and has filled in and played well," Ekdahl said. "Janelle is young but she has incredible skills; I'm grooming her to step in when this year's seniors leave."
The remainder of the roster consists of seniors Samantha Chaves, Nicole Showstead, Samantha Carver, Lauren Waingortin, Maura Silva, Kara Cliff ord, and Shannon Cooper, and sophomores Shelby Searles and Kayla Hilditch.
Chaves, Carver, Cliff ord, and Searles are all backs, Waingortin and Hilditch forwards, Showstead a sweep, Silva a midfielder and Cooper the backup goalie.
"The start has been okay," Ekdahl said. "We won our first game over Marlborough, our archrival, 1-0, on a breakaway goal by Jackie Bonner with four minutes to play. We haven't beaten Marlborough in seven years, so it was a very pleasing opener. I told the girls it was the best home opener Hudson has ever had."
The Hawks also defeated Maynard and came from behind to tie Narragansett.
"It's nice to know your team has the makeup to be able to come from behind," Ekdahl said.
Hudson's losses were to Oakmont and Clinton.
"We have our defense and goalie back and in place," Ekdahl said, "which is a comfort, but we always seem to struggle with our off ense and this year will be no diff erent: we'll struggle to score goals."
Last year, after its 0-3-3 start, the Hawks reeled off eight straight wins, won the MidWach C for the first time in 29 years and qualified for the Central Mass. Tournament for the first time in four years, finishing 8-6-5 overall.
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