Thursday, November 10, 2022

Windham field hockey goes furthest in program history

By Matt Pascarella

A Windham High School varsity field hockey team has never made it to a regional final playoff game until this year. The team surpassed previous season records when they beat No. 3 Scarborough and No. 2 Gorham to advance to the Class A South regional final at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford on Wednesday, Nov. 2 where they fought until the end, but Cheverus won 6-0.

Windham Field Hockey finished the season as the Class A
South regional runner-up, the farthest a Windham field hockey
team has ever advanced into the post-season playoffs.
“I knew that nothing is impossible and as a team we’ve grown so much this season, we could do anything we set our minds to,” said senior goalie Emma Theriault, who had 15 saves throughout the game. “We started out strong, we may have faltered a little bit, but we held our own.”

Theriault said communication and teamwork went well. They never once got mad at another person on the team; they stuck together. They knew it was their game and they had to give it everything they had.

Windham began the game with strong defense. Windham Sophomore Zoe Dries had a shot at goal in the first quarter.

“I think we played really good; [Cheverus] had one good player that was dominating, so I think we put up a good fight,” said Dries.

The mindset going into the regional final was they can do it; it’s the playoffs and anything can happen.

Windham offense pressured in the first half.

Cheverus, seeded No. 1, scored twice in the first quarter. And once more early in the second quarter. Windham, a sixth seed, kept up the intensity, Cheverus led 3-0 at the half.

“We were down 3-0 in our Falmouth game earlier this season and we came back and won so the girls knew they could still pull it out if they buckled down and gave it their best shot,” said Windham varsity field hockey coach Cory DiDonato. “They were never out of the fight. They have come from behind numerous times and have incredible grit, so I knew they had more to give.”

In the second half, Windham stayed in it, but Cheverus scored three more times before the clock ran out.

“Everyone did amazing tonight and I’m so proud of everybody,” said Windham sophomore Ava Gerrity.

Looking back on the season, Windham senior Hannah Heanssler said all of the playoff wins were incredible, overcoming adversity was a standout moment and the team bonded a lot which was probably the best part. Heanssler said the team dug deep, played their hearts out and that’s all that mattered, whether it was a win or a loss. Heanssler set a school record for assists with 25.

“I think they’ve been working on their mental game ... and getting to the point where they know they can win,” said DiDonato. “Communication went well, and their passes looked good. We've been working on getting the ball first and cutting off passes. There's a lot of kids that really are hungry for the ball and they cut off a lot of passes, which frustrates other teams, so they did awesome with that. I’ve never had a more gifted and determined team.”

For DiDonato, this group of seniors is really special because when she began teaching at Windham in 2016, she had many of them as students. It means a lot to her to see how they’ve improved. One of the most special parts is seeing how mentally tough they’ve become, realizing how they are as a team, knowing they are a force to be reckoned with and owning it.<

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