Norwood Field Hockey Edged Out in First Round

Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
December, 2017
Article Body: 

The Norwood field hockey team has advanced into the Division 1 South Tournament for seven straight years, but unfortunately the Mustangs have not fared all that well following the regular season. The last time Norwood was able to secure a win in the tournament was 2014, where the squad went all the way to the Semi-Finals before bowing out to Oliver Ames. Since that run, the Mustangs have been one and done upon entering the post-season. This year was no different, as Dartmouth edged them out 3-2 in the first round.
Coming into the season, Coach Alison Doliner had graduated some key players from last year’s team, but had a strong senior class taking to the field. Unfortunately, the majority of them had very little playing experience and the coach was really unsure of what she had.
“I was really not sure what to expect this year,” Doliner said. “But come pre-season in August, I found that the girls came out strong and were willing to buckle down and learn.”
Opening the season the Coach watched as her team had its ups and downs, but come the latter half of the year, the squad began to gel and found themselves amidst a six game winning streak that included wins against two top 20 teams.
Leading the Mustangs this past season were its three Bay State Conference All-Stars: sophomore center forward Ally McDonough, junior center midfielder Bryn Garczynski and senior center back and captain Erin Murphy.
McDonough, who totally impressed the coach last fall as a freshman posting the second highest scoring points on the team, didn’t fail her coach's expectations this year. The second year player, now with a year of varsity experience under her belt, led the team in scoring with 17 goals and 5 assists.
“Making the jump from eighth grade to the varsity level was a big step for her, and although it took her a while to get acclimated, she eventually got situated and put up some good number for us last year,” the coach said.
Garczynski began working on her development as soon as the season ended last year and reported to camp much improved as she was third on the team in scoring (4 goals and 7 assists). Three of her four goals were game-winning tallies.
“Bryn came in as the total package this year; you could see all the work she did over the winter,” Doliner said. “The transition in getting the team from offense to defense as well as defense to offense was very instrumental in our success. She was our crunch person.”
While Garczynski and McDonough were moving the offense in the right direction, Murphy was a key contributor to the entire team.
“As a third year starter for the team, she played a big part as an overall leader," the coach said. "She has a great vision for the entire field. She finished her career with15 defensive saves, which are shots that have gotten past the goalie, but Erin managed to keep them out of the net. That’s a staggering number and shows the hand/eye coordination that she possesses.”
Another senior, right wing Maddy O’Rourke, who has been playing on the team since her freshman campaign, seemed to find her niche this year. The hard working O’Rourke managed 4 goals and 5 assists in her fourth and final year with the Mustangs. According to Doliner, she played with an intensity and guided the two younger girls on her forward line.
One of those girls was freshman left winger Maggie Curran, who turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Norwood coach.
“As an aggressive player, she showed natural athletic ability on the field and was second on the team in scoring with 9 goals and 5 assists,” Doliner said. “It looked as though she had been playing with these girls her who life.”
Norwood will be graduated that large group of seniors, but the coach is optimistic about those who will be picking up the sticks again next season.
Losing seniors is always bad, especially losing 12 will be tough,” Doliner said. “But we do have a lot of key girls coming back to move up into their positions next year.”
One of those seniors coming back will be junior Rose Campbell, who will be the only starting defender to return. Campbell is a 3-year starting varsity player that is a natural leader on the field. In addition to Campbell returning, Doliner has her entire midfield back and she’s looking to not only continue the Mustangs tournament streak, but wants to get beyond the one and done and make a run at the championship.