NEWINGTON - The Newington field hockey team is being run by the underclassmen.
With no seniors and only two juniors, the Indians have faced plenty struggles this season and are in the midst of rebuilding head coach Veronica Grubin said. Through 11 games, Newington has compiled a 0-10-1 record and scored a total of three goals.
Last year, the Indians were fairly successful, going 10-5-2 and reaching the state tournament, but had a veteran group they could rely on with 10 seniors.
So when Newington matchup up against East Catholic on Tuesday, it showed there was still plenty it had to learn. The two teams had met previously back in September with the Eagles winning 2-0. This time around, the Indians had hopes they could turn it around. Despite their efforts, it was another shutout, 5-0.
But while the score was one-sided, Grubin said the final result did indicate how well the girls actually played.
The game plan for Newington was to come out fighting and remember the basics. In other words, she wants the girls to focus on the ‘little wins’.
Things like, “playing clean, playing smart, working as a team, focusing on their individual skills and hopefully having a little fun as their doing it as well,” Grubin said.
There were certainly moments when that proved to be the case and there were also plenty of teachable moments such as the defense.
The Indians had a tough time containing East Catholic’s Alexa Weber, who scored four goals and assisted on the other. But the Newington head coach saw the positives.
“The defense overall did great,” Grubin said.
The Indians’ defense showed good transitioning and watched their players throughout the game. Samantha Giudice’s play, especially stood out to Grubin. Only being a sophomore, Giudice has stepped up on the defensive end, holding her own out in the field.
And like her head coach, Giudice saw the positives on Tuesday in a difficult matchup.
“Being a close nit team is helpful, and translates to good communication on the field,” Giudice said.
With the lack of a deep bench, a majority of the girls play the entire length of the game.
“We focus on conditioning, footwork,” Grubin said. “I feel as though you can't do the more advanced skills if you don't have the footwork behind it.
“We have to practice the basics, practice the fundamentals, perfecting those and then moving on to something a little more challenging, and that will just help us grow as we move forward.”
With only five games left in the season, the Indians are still looking for their first win. Newington will play on the road against Conrad, Friday at 6 p.m.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org