Team First Approach Benefiting Whitman Field Hockey
With the MPSSAA field hockey state playoffs in full swing, Whitman's group is one you'll want to keep an eye on.
The Vikings enter the postseason with as much momentum as any team in the 4A field. Whitman has won four straight contests by a combined score of 22-1, with the last three contests being shutouts.
The run closes out a successful season for the Vikings which saw the group finish 10-2.
"The team has speed, endurance, and stick skills. The triad is the foundation needed to lead to success. With this foundation, other skills can be at the forefront such as communication and trust," head coach Allie Skiest said. "The team knows that 11 players need to work as one unit while on the field. Small passes, field vision, and composure are just a few components Whitman brings to the field during each contest."
While playing to those strengths has been crucial to Whitman's winning streak, being aware of the players' physical limitations has also been critical.
"Tending to one's physical state is also an important part of the game. Each player has been playing for almost 10 weeks now," Skiest said. "The demands during practices and games take a toll on one's body. It's important to listen to those aches and pains in order to ensure a positive health all the way up to the end of the season."
The group has experience with 15 seniors, but Whitman has contributors from other classes with six juniors and three sophomores on the roster as well. It's also a well-rounded bunch throughout the field, with Skiest saying all three lines of offense, midfield and defense have done a terrific job this season.
For as well as the Vikings have done this year though, there was a stretch during the regular season when the group struggled. Whitman's two losses this year came in back to back contests against Clarksburg and Churchill, though Skiest said the group used the defeats to better themselves.
"Both of those contests were tough games- with every game situation, win or lose, there is always something learned," Skiest said. "I'd say that the Whitman players had the heart and fight during these games but both Clarksburg and Churchill capitalized while in the circle just a little bit more."
Looking ahead, Whitman debuts in the playoffs against Walter Johnson on Oct. 26 at 5 PM.
The Vikings are in search of their first regional championship since 2006. The program has struggled in recent years to make an impact in the state playoffs, losing in the team's first game the last two seasons. This led to Skiest and her players making a better postseason showing one of the group's main goals for 2017.
If the team continues to play as it has in recent weeks, wins in the playoffs should follow, with a rematch against Churchill a distinct possibility in the regional championship. Regardless of what the Vikings' postseason fates are though, Skiest couldn't be prouder of her players.
"I'm confident in saying my players have been successful this year," Skiest said. "Each player has been a valuable asset to this team showing themselves, their families, their school, and other teams in our region that our team has what it takes to be at the top."
|October 25th, 2017||By: Wick Eisenberg|