MAHOPAC, N.Y. – After winning three more games last week, it’s safe to say the 2019 Mahopac field hockey team has put last year’s difficult season in its rearview.
The Indians improved to 5-2-1 with 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Ossining (Sept. 17 and 18) and a 1-0 win over Arlington (Sept. 21). They have outscored their opponents 22-7 since dropping their season opener to Scarsdale.
Mahopac’s win over Arlington was their first league win of the season.
“Last year, we couldn’t even win a game,” said co-captain April Heady.
This year, Heady said, the Indians have “more chemistry and talent spread all around.”
“We have made a tremendous amount of improvements this year,” she said. “We have a lot of young talent. As they grow they will become even stronger with their skills and better players as a whole. That will especially help this program grow.”
Last year, said co-captain Mary McDermott, the team did not reach its potential, often “playing down” to lesser opponents. Looking to avoid a repeat of last season, she said, the team came into this season more focused.
“I feel like the girls are more mentally in the game this year, which is why we have played well against every team this year,” McDermott said. “Our seniors especially get really focused and make sure the team gets ready for every game and puts all of their energy out on the field so we start every game strong and don’t let up.”
One of the keys to success, said co-captain Caitlyn Reilly, is finding the right roles for players.
“This year I think that we found where every player belongs and where they thrive,” Reilly said. “We have an extremely strong defense that clears the ball easily. Our midfield line is very fast and very skilled at getting the ball up to our forwards. The forward line is consistently shooting and working tirelessly to keep the ball in our attacking end.”
Coach Dona DiMaggio often reminds the players to “work toward proficiency,” Reilly said. Those words stay with the players on the field and in practice.
“The way we can maintain this run is just simply working hard in practice and in our warm-ups,” Reilly said. “This team loves winning and, with every win, our confidence grows. And that confidence is shown in the way we play every practice and game.”
To maintain this run, Heady said, the Indians must keep their composure: “Never get too high, never get too low.” Heady said Mahopac has the “talent and the heart” to finish strong.
Reilly is hoping for a deep run into the section playoffs.
“It’s been some time since we won our section and I think it’s about time we bring the championship home again,” she said.
Mahopac was scheduled to face rival Carmel on the road in another league match on Tuesday (Sept. 24). They’ll finish their week at home against John Jay (East Fishkill) at 4:15 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 26).