Field hockey team charges into new season

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David Peno

The final whistle cut through the nippy December air, dashing the hopes of a state championship bid and ending a historic postseason run.  Signifying the conclusion of the field hockey team’s Cinderella run after making it out of an arduous conference tournament, a mad tear through the region and an appearance in the state semifinals, the team reached a level that prior to the season, nobody was predicting.  

 

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to get there last year,” head coach and physical education teacher Ralph Chapman said.  

 

However, as the dust settles and a new season begins, the team is left with the challenging burden of moving forward with an almost entirely new lineup.

 

“We lost nine starters, so that will definitely impact us a lot this season,” senior and captain Macy Parana said.  

 

A roster change so large could cripple many teams, but not Chantilly.  A fusion of young talent, returning juniors and seniors and strong leadership have the team hopeful.  The recovery of injured junior Hannah Reeves is a much needed breath of fresh air.  A crucial addition to this year’s group is a new face entirely, that of sophomore Mackenzie Marciello.

 

“[Marciello] is our only sophomore on the team,” Reeves said.  “She scored a goal [in our last game,] and she is a great player.”

 

Even with a young and promising group, consistently stomping the competition moving forward will take an effort of Herculean proportions- a fiercely competitive conference is supplanted only by a deep pool of talent in the region, and a state full of even more topflight teams.  

 

“The competition looks as tough as last year. We always have Westfield, and they are dominant in this sport, so we have them breathing down our neck,” Chapman said.  “We found a way to beat Herndon two years ago, and last year they found a way to beat us, so who knows what this year is going to bring?”

 

Despite an upcoming schedule that may appear daunting to some, the locker room atmosphere remains ebullient.  The team believes that remaining positive and staying united as a single team will be the Chargers’ best shot at reaching their lofty goals.

 

“I think we have a lot of talent coming up, and if we play hard and work together as a team, I think we have potential to go far,” Parana said.  

Under the supportive guidance of their captain and with a sense of affirmation after a promising start to the season, the Chargers have reason to be hopeful.  

 

“I think our chances are pretty good,” Reeves

said. “I wasn’t sure how we were going to be at the beginning of the season, but after a few of our games so far we look really good, and our team skills look really good on the field, so I think we have a pretty good chance.”

 

The expectations are high for these athletes as they look to establish a perennial presence in the postseason. Holding themselves to the highest of standards, they look to improve on the impressive precedent they set last year.

 

“We want to do really well in district and regionals, and go far in states if we make it,” Reeves said.  

 

Throughout the grind and grit of the season, Chapman’s biggest priority is making sure he prepares his players well, and that he gives them every opportunity to fight and shine when the time comes.
“We just need to keep improving so when it comes to tournament season, we are playing our best,” Chapman said. “That is all you can ask, to play your best when it counts.”