The Rise of Field Hockey

The Field Hockey team is having an incredible season, with a 13-3 record.

The Field Hockey team is having an incredible season, with a 13-3 record.

Titan Field Hockey finished an amazing bounce back season with a 13-3 record after finishing below .500 last year. After a win over Park View on Thursday, the Titans will host the Broad Run Spartans for a chance to go to the state tournament with a win against the Spartans. 

After a rough year last year, the field hockey team had a coaching change and appointed Christy Gaitten as their head coach. “I have a lot of experience coaching as well as playing. I think that all my years of playing enable me to explain strategy to the girls in a way that they can understand,” Gaitten said, as well as adding, “Together, we have been able to focus, as a group, on clearly defined goals. With 13 seniors we have lots of leadership and camaraderie within the group. The girls are having fun playing together.”

One of the most impressive parts of this teams turnaround was that the team from last year is practically identical to last years team who had such a down year. Last years team only had one senior and she was a manager who did not actually play. “The team has really improved this season. There are several factors that have contributed to our success. We had a large group of players who participated in a field hockey program in the off season which really helped improve our stick skills and over all game play. We also have a new coach this year, and she has given us a real boost. The 13 seniors on the team have really stepped up their play this season as well,” two-time USA Junior Olympic and Titan Goalkeeper, Hannah Johnston, said.

The programs still ever new to Dominion, with its first season being in the 2016-2017 school year. With 13 seniors on the team, all of these girls started from the beginning of the programs creation all the way to their senior year. “The bond this year is super strong. After playing with the same girls for years you begin to form super tight connections with people you never thought you would talk too. We have just grown so much as a team this year because we all have the same goals for the season,” senior captain, Maddie Beal, said. Even after last years down year, the bond has only become stronger. “We have been having team dinners and doing more team bonding than we have before. It is really a great group of girls. We are so much stronger than last year, because we work together and trust each other so much more. We really know that we have each other’s back on the field,” Johnston said.

The team has also added a “JV” team, which is apart of the program. The “JV” program is not an actual official JV team as not enough teams in the county can field JV teams. Due the team having 13 seniors, all of these players will need to be replaced at the conclusion of this season though. The “JV” team is full of girls ranging from freshman to juniors who don’t see consistent playing time in normal games, but are on the team to to allow for continued improvement for the following season. “It has been great playing with all the younger players on the team. We all practice together, but sometimes we are separated and work on different things. I can see the growth in the newer players over throughout this season. I think if they all continue to work they will only get better,” Johnston said. 

There isn’t much fear of drop off within the program either with 13 seniors which is a rarity. “We have a lot of great players behind these seniors as well as an exceptional freshman class. Next year will be really different but I think we will be just fine,” Coach Gaitten said.