Hampshire Regional kicks off varsity field hockey program

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  • First year Hampshire Regional co-coaches Suzanne Bastek, left, and Deena Lashway at practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional junior Grace Dohrman, left, passes beside sophomore goalie Olivia Labrie during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional senior Jillian Scott passes during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional senior Jessie Paradis Stern, right, passes beside sophomore goalie Olivia Labrie during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional senior Jillian Scott passes during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional field hockey co-coach Deena Lashway talks to her team during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional field hockey co-coach Suzanne Bastek talks to her team during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional junior Grace Dohrman passes during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hampshire Regional senior Jessie Paradis Stern shoots during practice, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 at the school. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 9/18/2020 5:36:03 PM
Modified: 9/18/2020 5:35:51 PM

Over the past three years, Hampshire Regional students have had the opportunity to play field hockey, but only as a club sport.

On Friday, the school officially opened with field hockey as a varsity sport. However, unlike in past seasons, this one will look very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order for the sport to be played, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association announced several rule changes, the biggest being eight players (including a goalkeeper) on a field instead of 11.

“There’re lots of modifications that we’ll need to be transparent about with the team and the families,” co-coach Deena Lashway said. “It’s not going to be the same game.”

The coaches have complete faith in their players that they will be able to rise to the occasion and adapt to the new rules.

“It will be tough at times, but I have confidence in all the players that they can step up to the plate and do what they need to do so that we can have some fun on the field,” co-coach Susannah Bastek said.

There are several other modifications that change the way the game is played. There will be no penalty corners. Fouls inside the circle will result in a 25-yard hit. Instead of faceoffs teams will alternate possessions.

When the game is being played all participants are required to wear a mask. When players are at least 10 feet apart they are allowed to momentarily remove their face covering.

Players are not allowed to share their athletic equipment and any equipment used during practice must be sanitized.

Students are recommended to bring their own ball to practices. If that is not possible, students must use the same school-issued ball.

Lashway and Bastek will help their team get used to the new rules of the game.

“We have some creative thinking to do together as coaches,” Lashway said.

Although this season will be new and challenging, players, coaches and administrators are thrilled to get started considering the journey that it took to reach this point.

“It’s kind of been a long time coming,” Hampshire Athletic Director John Plourd said.

One year before the school made field hockey a club sport, three parents and their children started a youth team in Williamsburg. The program worked well because it introduced players to field hockey at a young age and allowed the program to grow.

“The field hockey team has been the model of what everyone should do when you’re trying to start a team at a school,” Plourd said.

The program was not without early challenges. The pandemic made the school rethink its budget and whether starting a sport at this time was a good idea.

“We had to convince our school committee to approve the budget, including the field hockey team,” Plourd said. “We didn’t know what kind of expenses we were going to run into academically with all the different regulations and policies and the PPE (personal protective equipment) we had to purchase.”

Through grants and reimbursement opportunities available to the school, the field hockey program became viable.

“We’re just excited and thankful to be out there,” Lashway said.




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