Thayer field hockey has always been a team to be reckoned with in New England. We have four turf fields on which we play every day. With this advantage, we are able to play a top level of field hockey, bringing in many of the tactics and techniques that the top collegiate players use themselves. In this way, we are able to both prepare aspiring field hockey players for future collegiate play, and give those players who do not aspire to play in college a fast, exciting experience with the game. Thayer has placed field hockey players on teams such as Northeastern, UConn, Conn College, Providence College, Trinity College, Franklin and Marshall, the University of Richmond, Middlebury, and Boston College, just to name a few.
TAFH consists of a dedicated family of talented athletes who love to compete and strive for success. The Tigers won back-to-back ISL championships in 2010 and 2011. The past four seasons have been rebuilding years, and we are striving to make the tournament and compete for a spot against some of the best teams in the league.
Our focus with TAFH is teamwork, technique/skill development, and game understanding. Once on the Thayer team, our athletes are expected to work as a cohesive unit where no athlete is more important then the one next to her. We have a great time on our journey during the season, but we commit to our common purpose of excellence and work hard to achieve it every day.
This season, third year head coach, Alison Soule, continued to rebuild the program. An advocate of desire, competition, and hard-work, Soule instills positive character traits in her players, as well as pushes them to play to their highest potential. In total, Soule has coached 19 seasons of both field hockey and lacrosse at the middle and upper school levels. This year, legendary Thayer coach, Wendi Happ, and second year ice hockey coach, Ashley Bairos, joined the coaching staff. This was a season of growth for Varsity Field Hockey, even though our final record may not entirely show it. After our season opening win against Cushing Academy (3-2), we faced some tough losses in a row. However, we were back in action with a 1-0 victory against Brooks, often an ISL powerhouse. After a few more ups and downs and many injuries, the Tigers then managed to win two in a row: 4-1 vs. a previously undefeated Worcester Academy, and then 3-0 vs. Lawrence on Homecoming weekend the following day.
Toward the end of the season, the team found its rhythm, and although the end result didn't show, they played outstanding hockey against the 2nd seeded Middlesex and #3 St. Mark's. Down 1-0 with 31 seconds left in the MX game, TA called a time out, had a quick pep talk, and with nothing to lose, managed to tie the game up with 8 seconds left on the clock. The goal was scored by Stephanie Lyons ('18), forcing the game into overtime and putting the Zebras to the test. Although MX claimed victory a few minutes into 7v7 overtime, it was a tremendous effort by TAFH. The next week, a powerful, physical St. Mark's came and again, the Tigers put them to the test, tying the game with 1 second left in the first half, off a goal from Elizabeth Tangney ('17). It was a battle in the midfield, and the Lions lucked out with another goal, taking the 2-1 W. However, it was well-fought game, and the Tigers played their hearts out against the former 2-time ISL league champs and NEPSAC champs.
The final three games of the season allowed Thayer to finish on a strong note. 2-1 W vs. BBN (who beat us last year in the final seconds); 0-0 tie vs. Class A Phillips Exeter; and a 4-2 victory vs. St. George's.
Top stats: Kate Swanson ('16): 7 goals, 2 assists; Steph Lyons ('18): 6 goals 1 assist; Darby Melia ('17): 6 assists; Emily Smith ('18): 244 saves/276 shots (88%)
Most Improved Player: Darby Melia ('17)
Most Valuable Player: Emily Smith ('18)
Coaches' Award: Meg Sandblom ('16)
ISL All-League Honorable Mention: Abigail King ('17)
ISL All-League, 1st Team: Darby Melia ('17)
Thank you to the parents and fans for all of the support during our 2015. Also, a special thanks to our manager, Caroline Skillman ('18), and our home game operation specialists: Casey Carreau ('17) and Ryan Farley ('17). Coach Soule is looking forward to an even stronger season in 2016.
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