The reviews are in, and they’re positive.
Shoreham-Wading River High School field hockey players and their coach, Allie Franklin, say they are more than happy with the field turf at the sparkling new Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field. The team will play all its home games at the site.
“I love it,” center back Taylor Flanagan said. “It makes the game so much faster, and it improves everyone’s stick skills a lot.”
The playing surface makes a world of a difference in how the game is played. Not only is the game faster, but passes are truer and it’s easier for players to sweep the ball away and make aerial passes. It changes the way a team plays and the way coaches strategize.
“Oh, it’s great,” Franklin said. “It’s world’s better than grass. Field hockey at the Olympic level is played on Astroturf and at most collegiate-level schools it’s played on Astroturf, so to have anything other than grass is definitely a good thing for our program. It makes it easier to teach the game at the middle school level. We do get the young girls on here every now and then. It just improves their stick skills tremendously, from top to bottom. It’s a much truer game that way.
“When we’re here, we’re playing a lot more little passes, give-and-gos, a much more of a finesse game. When we take it to the grass, it’s just get the ball out of here, hit it as hard as you can because you never know what kind of a bad bounce it’s going to take.”
A large trash bucket near the team bench is used to hold the sticks for the Shoreham players during home games. The dark gray bucket has “SWRVFH” inscribed in yellow lettering, with the words, “Onto Cincinnati” under it.
Onto Cincinnati? What does that mean?
The explanation has nothing to do with field hockey and everything to do with football and the New England Patriots.
Following a loss to Kansas City two years ago, Patriots coach Bill Belichick repeatedly answered reporters’ questions by saying, “We’re on to Cincinnati,” the team’s next opponent.
Shoreham coach Allie Franklin, born and raised in New England in a family of diehard Patriots fans, has adopted that phrase as a team motto, a way of telling her players to forget about the past and look toward the future.
She said, “Whenever they do something good or bad, I want to forget what we just did and on to Cincinnati.”
Coleman: 5 goals in 5 games
Riverhead has some talent on the field with All-County honorable mention midfielder Kim Ligon, All-Conference defender Janelle Carey, All-Conference midfielder Shannon Schmidt and All-League goalie Grace Dow.
So, who was the team’s leading goal scorer through the first five games?
Eighth-grader Rease Coleman.
Coleman, who played junior high school field hockey last fall, already had five goals (four of them coming against Hampton Bays). Not bad for a varsity rookie.
“I don’t know if it’s a surprise,” said coach Cheryl Walsh-Edwards.
Coleman plays on a young forward line that includes two freshmen (Katherine Goodale and Leah Zenk) and a sophomore (Kayla Kielbasa).
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s team motto, “Onto Cincinnati,” is a way of reminding players not to dwell on the past. (Credit: Bob Liepa)