Friday, September 8, 2023

Windham field hockey aims to be competitive yet again

By Ed Pierce

Windham High Field Hockey coach Cory DiDonato has lofty expectations for her team entering the 2023 season thanks to a solid core group of returning players and some promising new talent added to the squad.

Windham's field hockey team gathers after team's first game
of the season against Scarborough at Windham High School
Now in her 16th season as head coach of the Eagles, DiDonato will rely heavily on contributions from junior forward Zoe Dries, junior forward/midfielder Grace Joly, and the versatile Sam Bell who can play all the positions.

A year ago, Dries tallied 12 goals and recorded four assists which was second overall in scoring for the team, while Joly had 6 goals and 5 assists for Windham. Bell anchored the team’s midfield dominance and she is expected to play an increased role for the Eagles on defense this season.

“Communication and hard work will be the keys to the season,” DiDonato said.

Also returning for WHS are junior midfield/defender Ava Gerrity, who DiDonato rates as a solid defender and senior midfielder Elizabeth Gurney, whom the coach is counting on to play a vital role this fall. Other returning players are Zocia Lawind, and Abby Trainor.

“Our team is the strongest in our versatility. We have multiple players who can play anywhere on the field,” DiDonato said. “We lost our starting defense so I expect that we will be working hard on filling those roles and stepping up to the challenge.”

DiDonato said two new players will be expected to step in and have an immediate impact for Windham this year.

“I expect big things from Elizabeth Baker, a sophomore defender, and Olivia McPherson, a goalie,” DiDonato said.

Facing a tough schedule, time will tell what this group of returning players can accomplish, but DiDonato says the team has worked hard in getting ready for the challenging season ahead and they are hoping to step up and build on the success that Windham enjoyed in varsity field hockey a year ago.

“We are replacing a large graduation loss, but we have a core group that traveled with us to the Western Maine Championship game last year,” she said. “I expect that experience to help us be competitive and driven to do our best.”

Windham opened the season Aug. 31 with a 3-2 loss at home to Scarborough but regrouped and posted a 6-1 road victory over South Portland/Westbrook on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The remainder of the schedule includes games at Kennebunk on Sept. 11 and at Scarborough on Sept. 13. Windham hosts Biddeford on Sept. 16 and then goes back on the road to Noble on Sept. 19.

The Eagles will host Falmouth on Sept. 25 and visit Massabesic on Sept. 27. Then Windham has three consecutive home games against Bonny Eagle on Sept. 29, Portland/Deering on Oct. 5 and Cheverus on Oct. 7.

Windham will then play road games against Thornton Academy on Oct. 11 and Gorham Oct. 13 before closing out the season with a home matchup against Marshwood on Oct. 17. <

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