Hopedale Field Hockey

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
November, 2019
Article Body: 

Over the past four seasons the Hopedale field hockey team has compiled a 43-16-13 record, earning three trips to the Division 2 Central Tournament. However, while getting to play in the post-season, the Blue Raiders have not practically had good luck.
Four years ago they made it to the Quarter Finals where they lost to the eventual district champion Auburn and the past two seasons Hopedale has played in four overtime games. In 2017 the Blue Raiders defeated Blackstone Valley in overtime during the Quarter Finals before falling to Oakmont, the eventual champion, 2-1in double overtime in the Semi Finals. Last fall Hopedale once again defeated Blackstone Valley, this time in double overtime before Uxbridge sent them packing in the Quarter Finals with an overtime win.
Blue Raider Coach Lauren Bouchard likens her team’s success to the grueling regular season play that includes high ranking division one teams.
“We’re a team that is consistently strong in the tournament because of our hard schedule during the season. It’s a challenging season, but it not only gets us ready but it helps us thrive in the tournament,” she said. “This year we’ve already beaten Marlboro 2-1 on our home field. That was a big won for us and gives the girls added confidence.”
One of the key athletes that will once again take the field for Hopedale will be senior goalie Piper Hampsch. Having found herself in net for the Blue Raiders since the seventh grade Hampsch has played in every single game during that stretch, which covers over 100 games for Hopedale. Hampsch has already committed to play field hockey for the number two Division 1 Duke Blue Devils next season.
“Piper is the backbone and voice of the defense,” Bouchard said. “She keeps you in the game and gives you that chance to win it. Through the first nine games she has only given up 5 goals.”
In addition to Hampsch, Hopedale will rely on two other captains in Rowe Murphy and Zoe Athanasopoulas to propel the squad back into the Division 2 Central Tournament. Both athletes will be very important to the Blue Raiders offensive play. Athanasopoulas has already contributed 8 assists, while Murphy will be looked upon to carry the play through the middle of the field.
Offensively Bouchard will look to her junior forward’s to bury the ball in the oppositions goal. Leading that rush will be center forward Gianna DeRienzo (10 goals and 1 assist so far) and Carly Smith (9 goals/ 1 assist). Sophomore Sophia Garzoli has currently scored four times, but the coach is waiting for the second year player to find her niche and breakout and reach her full potential.
“The junior forwards have all stepped up and have started to score and we will continue to rely on them,” the coach said. “They are feeling much more comfortable in their roles and are finding more backs of the net this year.”
While the offense is scoring the defense will be hoping to keep the opposition away from getting too close to Hampsch. Sophomore Nora Hodgens will be a reliable midfielder who has great game sense for the Blue Raiders, while senior right back Ali McMahon and junior defensive back Maeve Griffin will find themselves on the field for a great deal of time. The duo will play all 60 minutes of every game and never come out. McMahon started to see her paying time increase last season and as a senior has earned her positon.
IN addition to the defense that has returned Hopedale has been lucky enough to get German exchange student Carli Schmidt for one year. Schmidt, who plays for a top club team in Germany, is not only a perfect fit for the team, but she comes at the right time as Hopedale lost last year’s center back to a move to Florida. While the team has been lucky to get Schmidt, the exchange student is adjusting to the change in the game here at Hopedale.
“In Germany she is used to playing on astro-turf, here we play on grass so it’s going to be an adjustment for her,” the Hopedale coach said. “Not only is our field grass, it is not in the best of conditions. Since she has been here she has stepped up her game and is getting used to playing on it.”
Although the team has been rather lucky to have Schmidt land in their hands Bouchard believes that all of her defensive players, outside of Hampsch, are interchangeable as they know how to play each and every position in the backfield.
With the Blue Raiders already playing a high standard of hockey Bouchard feels the girls are right where they need to be. The Hopedale Coach expects her team to do very well within in the Dual Valley Conference and challenge for the title, while they continue at improving to go deeper into the tournament this fall than they did last season.
In addition to taking their game to the next level so that they can compete successfully in the tournament, Hopedale will be getting gearing up for its second annual Purple game, where all proceeds will be donated to research and awareness of pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately Hopedale has two sisters (junior Carline and senior Oliva Hurley) playing on the team that lost their mother to the disease last winter.
Caroline was a swing player between the junior varsity and varsity squads last fall and finds herself as a starting defensive mid this year. Olivia is a first time field hockey player that decided to join the team as a senior because of all the support the team showed her sister after their mother passed away.