NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – North Salem field hockey (13-2-1) finished their regular season last week with two more wins against Briarcliff (4-0) and Carmel (2-1).
Heading into the Section 1 playoffs, the Tigers’ unbeaten streak is now at 13 games, with their last loss coming on Sept. 9. They also went undefeated in league play, outscoring their rivals 39-3.
So, what has been to the key to their success?
Teamwork, game-planning and accountability are important ingredients to any winning team. But a Disney sing-along helps, too.
Mid-way through a morning practice during the first week of pre-season, the exhausted team found inspiration in the form of the “Frozen” and “Moana” soundtracks.
“It turned something many would have classified as torturous into something joyful,” said Allison Eberhardt, senior co-captain. “That ability to have ridiculous wonderful fun in the face of adversity is something truly special about this team, and with it there’s no telling how far we’ll go.”
That attitude helped the Tigers to just “let it go” after suffering a 6-0 defeat to Bronxville on Sept. 9, dropping their record to 1-2.
“The key to our team’s success, I think, is our ability to work together and just enjoy each other,” Eberhardt said. “Hard games become easier when everyone shares the struggle, and I know the girls around me are giving their all for us. We are all making sacrifices for this team, and I feel everyone honors that with their own commitment.”
Coach Jennifer Frohman said her players have great chemistry on and off the field.
“This is quite beneficial because it helps bring more unity to our team,” Frohman said. “With that unity, sometimes, comes less need for verbal communication, because the girls already know what each other is thinking or is going to do.”
Last year’s field hockey team graduated seven seniors. But the returning 12 players were determined to bring the section title home to North Salem. Many of them train during the offseason, stay late after practice, and seek out advice.
“The first three games were tough for us when we experienced our first losses of the season,” Frohman said. “Both losses were extreme learning experiences for us and a place where we launched from. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to continuously improve. Tying Somers during homecoming and beating Carmel in the last minute of our last regular season game are the games we have focused on to motivate us even further.”
North Salem’s goal right now is to win the Section 1 title… “and beyond,” Eberhardt said.
“To get it, we are going to have to push ourselves harder than ever in increasingly adverse conditions in order to succeed and hopefully retain our ability to have fun during it all,” Eberhardt said. “At its core this team is a family—and that is what makes us strong.”
North Salem will open the playoffs on Saturday against the winner of Valhalla and Hastings.