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[Sept. 2016 Sports] Varsity field hockey executes new style of play in hopes of achieving season goals

By Izzy Blansfield ’18 Sports Editor

The Staples girls’ varsity field hockey team, led by second year coach Ian Tapsall, will execute a new style of play this season.

“Coach Tapsall has made a huge impact on the team. Last year, he came in and created a whole new system consisting of a different style of hockey, and this year as a team we plan to execute this style,” co-captain Christine Taylor ’18 said.

Tapsall applies this new system by focusing on increasing the team’s speed, playing with a forward high on the field and improving on the basic fundamentals of the game.

The team spent their summer working to apply this new system by training with the Athletic Performance Center and practicing fitness tests. The team also attended captains’ practices, private lessons and day and overnight camps.

“We spend a lot of time practicing and learning a lot each day to implement this system. We do drills based on what went wrong in the previous game. But overall Ian has made a big difference in our team and helped us to not only improve our skills but expects a lot out of ourselves,” right forward Abby Najarian ’18 said.

According to Tapsall, field hockey is a game of sprinting.

“The games we didn’t do so well in last year were games we were out- hustled to the ball,” Tapsall said.

The team has been concentrating solely on sprinting mechanics and conditioning by practicing the 300 meter fitness test. Every week the team is tested for speed so that proper conditioning can be maintained throughout the season.

Because there is no offsides in field hockey, Tapsall has changed the positioning of the team, now playing  with a high forward.

“That’s how they play at college and the international level. I’m not saying our girls are at that level, but we should aspire to a system that works up there,” Tapsall said.

“We have done a ton of work on basic fundamentals. The system he implements isn’t difficult as long as the passes are sharp and accurate and we stop the ball,” co-captain Colleen Bannon ’17 said.

The team successfully applied these new skills, starting the season out on an undefeated streak going 4-0. The team defeated Joel Barlow 5-0, Greenwich 6-0, Ludlowe 8-0, Stamford 8-0 and Trumbull 5-0.

“Although it was hard to adjust to it at the beginning of last season, we really do click as a team now and the changes he has implemented are clearly showing from our recent big wins,” center forward Gabriela Vega ’18 said.

As the season progresses, the girls will continue to work hard towards their goal of winning both states and FCIAC’s.

“With our team’s mentality, fitness and skills, I believe we can do it. We have a lot of strong players, and a lot of chemistry between each other that is being shown on the field,” left midfielder Meghan Johnson ’18 said.

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