By Sheila Albrecht
The 2012 John Glenn Middle School (JGMS) Field Hockey team respondedto a winless 2011 season by turning in an outstanding undefeated season, recording 7 wins, 3 ties and no losses.More than 25 goals were scored over an exciting season of aggressive defense and offense, plus talented goal tending for this young seventh and eighth grade team. This accomplishment is all the more noteworthy after recording no wins and only two goals for the 2011 season. The girls proudly ended their season battling to a scoreless tie with the only other undefeated team in the division, Westford’s Blanchard Middle School.
At the helm of the JGMS team were Coaches Megan Salvucci and Joanna Daley with team captains Abbey Rosier, Melanie Albrecht, Lorraine Byrne and Nicki Antonoff. Unique to the team was the large number of girls on the roster.Most teams consist of 20 girls; however the JGMS team roster carried 40 girls. It was a difficult decision for coaches and the athletic department to allow the team to retain all 40 girls that tried out. The coaches’ decision to accept all 40 of the enthusiastic players on the roster meant negotiating costs, playing time, andfield availability,plus promoting the importance of allowing as many middle school girlsto play as possible in order to prepare for participation at the high school level. It was a tense tryout week wondering if it would be a team of 20 or 40, and Coach Daley describes the outcome: “At the end of the first week of practice we announced to the girls that we were not making cuts and were keeping all 40 athletes. The girls began uncontrollably cheering. That volume of spirit continued throughout the season.”
When asked what made this year so successful, Coach Salvucci felt “It was improvements that the eighth graders had made over the previous year, as well as the knowledge that the seventh grade players came in with.” Coach Daley commented that “The team had the perfect balance of talent and spirit. The girls were genuinely interested in learning about the sport and enthusiastic to execute newly acquired skills. Our eighth graders were strong leaders and they immediately took the seventh graders under their wings. Our seventh graders were fast learners and eager to please.” These comments are significantgiven that none of these girls had ever played field hockeyuntil seventh grade tryouts. Middle School field hockey, unlike soccer, basketball or softball, which are nurtured from early grades, is a sport introduced and taught for the first time at the seventh grade level. It is a credit to the talents of both the players and thecoaches that the 2012 JGMS team collectively grasped the mechanics of the game and quickly learned to execute the game so well that they were able to turn out this year’swinning season.
Coach Daley’s final comments regarding the parting eighth graders are that they are a strong group of players and will be a force to reckon with as they go off to play their four years at Bedford High School.