The fall sports season has reached its midway point, and local high school teams are now starting their push toward the postseason. The Stowe Reporter caught up with Ali Vigneau, head coach of the Stowe field hockey team, to see what to expect the rest of the season.
Here’s a look.
Q: Record and postseason results from last year?
10-3-1 in the regular season, Stowe beat Milton in the Division 3 quarterfinals and Missisquoi in the semifinals before losing to St. Johnsbury, 2-0, in the D-3 state championship game.
Q: Results so far this year?
6-2, with wins over U-32 (twice), Harwood (twice), Montpelier and Rice and overtime losses to Lyndon and Missisquoi.
Q: Turnout this season?
We have 23 girls playing total. 17 returning players and six new players. On varsity we have five seniors, six juniors and four sophomores for a total of 15.
Q: Key returnees?
Rachel Cunningham and Mackie Eagan are the key returnees who will control ball movement. Andrea Jackman is returning to goal and will anchor the team. A lot of girls who subbed in last year are stepping up for some major playing time. We have a young forward line, which is exciting to have them return for another year or two.
Q: Key newcomers to the team?
A lot of the sophomores are stepping into their roles on the team. Rachel Ramos is very talented and jumps in as a midfield sub. There is also some promising talent for new girls who have picked up the stick for the first time this season. Abbey Cassavant stepped in as our backup goalie so we can continue to build after Andrea graduates.
Q: What are some of the strengths of the team?
Speed is our main strength this season, as well as strong sticks. The girls are able to control the ball in the middle of the field and move it well to teammates.
Q: Are there any areas you’re hoping to see improvement?
We want to continue to put offensive pressure on. We have already had two 1-0 overtime losses, with many shots in those games. We do have a relatively young team with a lot of newcomers on varsity so we are constantly trying to build confidence.
Q: Will you be emphasizing any style of play or formation?
We are still figuring out who belongs where and seeing how we can play each girl to her best potential. Girls are jumping into new positions and we are constantly evaluating and adjusting. They are all very versatile players and willing to jump in where we ask, so there is not really one formation or style we are focusing on.
Q: Matchups with key rivals?
Harwood and Lyndon are always tough games for us. We also have a handful of Division 1 and Division 2 matchups that will give us a challenge.
Q: Expectations for the season?
We have taken a few trips to the state finals in recent years, so I hope the girls will continue to work hard and hopefully this year we will see ourselves there again.