Although the girls field hockey team at Great Neck South, a combined group of varsity and junior varsity players, did not have their best season, they still showed a deep commitment to unity and working together as a team. Their coach, Jane Maher, is the current head of girls athletics at South High. This was her second year coaching the team, along with her assistant, Andrea Patruzzi. Though their season, which went from Aug. 28 until Oct. 24, recently ended, Maher is already planning for next year.
''I think the best qualities of the team are that they are new, fresh and young. Many of the new members are ninth graders, excited about hockey and learning new strategies,'' said Maher. Even though the team faced a few obstacles, the main one being commitment to practices, they worked together well. Maher believes that the team would be able to improve its scoring if more students were devoted to attending practices. Next year, a stricter attendance policy might be installed to prevent this. She thinks that there was room for improvement, and that they could have been better if they stuck to the work and practices, positioning, strategies, learning and passing. She also believes that members of the team put their best efforts in, but needed to learn more about the responsibilities of being a team player, and viewing the game with a more serious and focused attitude.
The strongest player of the season, according to Maher, was by far Amanda Fredricks. Calling Fredricks a ''stand-out player,'' she says her qualities included visualizing the game and field, and her immense athletic skills. She also believes that Jennifer Surpris, the goalie, has a lot of potential, and wants to be a good player. Other team members who are prominent include new coming freshman Molly Honig, Alice Lim, and Sophie Wang, who all bring vast enthusiasm to the team because of their love for the sport.
''They were constantly developing a sense of team unity," said Maher. This was especially true in one of their previous games against Portledge, where the team's skills came through. They won in overtime, the game was very exciting, Amanda Fredricks had the ball, and dribbled all the way down the field with it, eventually going one on one with the goalie, and scoring the winning goal.
Many of the members joined the team because they were introduced to the sport through physical education classes, where it was one of the fall activities held. Seeing how much they enjoyed it, and how they were excited about the game in gym, made them encouraged to join the team and play for the school.
Maher would like to see more people get involved with LIFA, the Long Island Field Hockey Association. LIFA is a sports program held over the summer, where avid players of field hockey get to participate in games two nights a week. She wants to promote the fact that field hockey, and sports in general, is not just about winning and competition, but that it's also about having a great time playing on the field, and having fun.
Last year, because 10 seniors from the year before had graduated, the team was lacking players, and finished with a record of two wins out of 15 games in total. This year, although the team has gained a significant amount of new players, Maher would still like to see more students on the team next year, in order to build up the program. Her biggest goal for next season is to acquire a large enough steady and solid group of athletes who play with commitment, concentration and motivation, so that there could be separate varsity and junior varsity teams.