Hawks look to repeat as COSSA champs
By Darren Lum
Published: Sept. 19. 2017
Nothing is different this season for the Red Hawks as far as expectations go.
Despite the Red Hawks field hockey program only fielding one varsity team this season, the team is looking to defend its COSSA (Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics) crown.
Coach Steve Smith is well aware of how the Hawks have perennially been a team to beat in the Kawartha High School Field Hockey League.
“My expectations never change. I always want the same going forward. I tell the girls everybody is coming for you because of last year’s results,” he said. “The results will be left up to the girls. I always tell them if you win it’s all you and if you lose it’s on me (obviously, I haven’t taught them something).”
Last year the varsity A team earned a shot at the provincial title with a 3-2 win over their rivals, the North Hastings High School Huskies of Bancroft in the COSSA final in Peterborough. The team also finished with an undefeated Kawartha High School Field Hockey season.
With 23 players (as of last week) for two teams, the program’s returning coach Smith decided to enter the lone team.
“It means I’ll have fresh bodies ready to go so we will run. A lot. So when we are playing we will do a lot of changes and make sure everybody gets some playing time. As we move along on the season we’ll see how everyone develops,” he said.
He admits there will be learning process when players replace teammates. Players will be learning positions rather than replacing any one player to alleviate the challenge of the frequent changes.
Smith was the coach for the varsity A and varsity B teams last year.
The coaching staff includes Jessica Lloyd, who has been a coach the past few years.
In high school sports there are always roster changes to consider.
For this year’s field hockey squad there will be eight players not returning.
This includes goalkeeper Sonya Flatman and players, Kenndal Marsden, Jamie Little, Erin Little, Emily Glecoff, Rebecca Hamilton, Jenna Hughes and Hannah Klose.
There are seven from the core group of veterans returning, which includes Abby Gordon, Ali Paul, Emma Scheffee, Emily Klose, Claire Karaguesian, Kendra Anderson and Maddie Allaire.
Smith adds these older players mentor the younger players, enhancing their skill development.
Unlike the past few years when the Hawks were assured of an experienced goalkeeper, this year there are two new entirely faces. Since goalkeeper Flatman graduated, the program was without a goalie.
Grade 9 student Danaya MacDuff and Grade 11 student Denniella Rivard have voluntarily stepped in between the pipes for the varsity team. Both of them are field hockey rookies. However both are athletic and have ice hockey experience. Rivard has 12 years of experience playing net in the county league hockey league while MacDuff played defence.
Smith said the Hawks remain the only school that will host a game on grass this season. The Peterborough schools are expected to have their games at either Fleming College or Trent University.
“Our girls are at a disadvantage because of being on grass all the time. We’ll go and practice in the gym and ... that’s not quite the same, but it is the closest thing I’ve got here,” he said.
With the exception of one regular season home game expected, the team will likely have just one home game.
He adds the team will strive to play each game hard, working to execute and score.
“The goal never changes. Be aggressive on the field. Score goals. Don’t let them score on you. We’ll see what the end result is. Going to COSSA is always important for the girls,” he said. “OFSAA is a bonus.”