Ocean City Today

SD field hockey team has ‘young, new talent’ this yr.

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Aug 31, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli Stephen Decatur senior Neah Purnell maneuvers around freshman Aly Bracisezewski during Monday's practice.

(Sept. 1, 2017) Stephen Decatur field hockey Coach Amy Matthews is looking forward to meshing the new players with the veterans on the field this season.

“We have eight seniors, but we have a lot of young girls,” said Matthews, now in her fourth year leading the program. “We have a lot of young, new talent coming in that we’re excited about. We have 12 freshmen, 10 sophomores, three juniors and eight seniors [between JV and varsity].”

Nine players are varsity veterans. Senior Neah Purnell (2016 Bayside Conference Honorable Mention) will use her speed on the forward line. On the team for three years, Purnell’s experience will come in handy as she takes on a leadership role.

“I’ll show the girls that they really need to have determination and faith in themselves and the other players, encourage them and try to lead the team in the right direction so that we’ll have a successful season, and try and stay positive throughout the whole season,” Purnell said. “We can’t let down no matter what the score is, whether we’re having a good game or a bad game. We need to stay motivated and we’ll be successful, win or loss.”

Junior Lily Figgs and senior Caroline Kurtz will play in the midfield and on the forward line. Senior Emilie Tacka is back in goal for the Lady Seahawks.

Kurtz, a four-year player, will compete in the center midfield, a new spot for her, as well as at center forward.

“I think it’s really important to just be able to guide everyone because I can see where everything is going,” she said. “I’ve always been on the forward line, but they’ve been trying me out [at midfield].”

Kurtz is looking forward to her final season as a Seahawk. She and Purnell would like the team to put more goals on the scoreboard this season and improve upon last year’s winless record.

“I’m excited for the season. It’s bittersweet because I’ve played since my freshman year and I’ve met so many friends doing this,” Kurtz said. “This is a really young group of girls, but they’re really eager to learn and not afraid to ask the older girls questions. They’re very unselfish and they want to do what’s best for the team.”

“The new girls are excited to learn new things and try different things,” Purnell added.

Matthews said the girls are working well together and have a really good dynamic. She is pleasantly surprised with what she has seen so far.

The players take drills seriously and are trying to incorporate what they learn in practice into games.

“We lost a lot of key players [to graduation]. We’re trying to figure out who will play their best at which position,” Matthews said. “Our goals are to do our best, give it 100 percent on the field and feel good about what we left on the field.”

Sept. 5: James M. Bennett, 4 p.m. (A)

Sept. 12: Kent Island, 4 p.m. (H)

Sept 14: Parkside, 4 p.m. (H)

Sept. 18: Holly Grove, 4 p.m. (H)

Sept. 21: Kent County, 4 p.m. (A)

Sept. 26: Queen Anne’s, 5 p.m.(A)

Sept. 28: Washington, 5 p.m. (A)

Oct. 3: Easton, 4 p.m. (H)

Oct. 6: Crisfield, 4 p.m. (A)

Oct. 10: North Caroline, 4 p.m. (H)

Oct. 12: St. Michaels, 4 p.m. (H)

Oct. 17: Pocomoke, 4 p.m. (H)

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