Malden High School’s Field Hockey team has already had a terrific start to their season. Their current record is a tremendous improvement upon last year as they have already won two of their opening five games.
This season they started off with a great opening game vs Lawrence in which Sophomore Kenny Nguyen scored all the goals in their 6-0 victory. This win helped the team not only with confidence, but it shows the team has improved and changed drastically from the previous season, a change that was brought upon by new head coach Samantha Souza.
This will be Souza’s first year coaching a Malden team and also her first year coaching a co-ed sport. She describes the co-ed aspect of Field Hockey as a “great dynamic.” The team this year also have finally received new shorts for all the players, which greatly boys and girls alike feel more comfortable. Kenny Nguyen described the shorts as “not only nicer, but a much better performance than the previous uniforms we wore.” Nguyen also said “The shorts [they] have now not only feel better than the skirts, they give [him] more confidence to play which increases the quality of [his] gameplay.”
In addition Souza has also implemented a 4-3-3 formation when they play. She capitalizes on forwards such as Nguyen and Sophomore Bonnie Kuang to pressure the oppositions backline to create more scoring opportunities. Captain’s Mei Mie Zhang and Grace Dong also both control the midfield and the defensive line respectively. The team focuses playing wide and providing crisp passes when they gain possession.
One key component of this team is how well the players and coaches communicate with one another. Captain Zhang stresses how important communication is on and off the field. She states “[They] do need to work on communication with each other on the field because that will make us better aware of were we need to be and where we are going to score.”
Along with communication the team has also been more aggressive and “hungry” for the ball then past years.
“[He thinks] it is important for a team to look and be professional, confident, and hungry. [They’re] turning up the intensity” said Souza
Aggressiveness is a quality that Souza tries to installs into her players and it is felt by the way the team both trains and plays, however it can still be improve on.
“Being more aggressive is also important, many of the players do not get hungry for the ball and wait for the ball to come to them instead of running up to it to get control of the ball,” stated Nguyen.
Coach Souza wants to also improve on the team’s positioning and keeping the ball out of the middle of the field when they play to make their play style more effective.
“Sometimes the team is confused on where they need to be and are often too close together, [they] need to work on positioning, where to put [themselves] so that [they] can be an option to pass to when having possession of the ball” said Nguyen.
While this team still has lots to improve on and train, this group of players are incredibly ready to meet any challenge that may come ahead. With the combined talents of both the players and Coach Souza this may be one of the brightest Varsity Field Hockey seasons yet and it’s been a long time coming.
“Each game [they] come away with things [they] need to improve on but also things the team has done well with,” said Souza.
“[They] need to continue to work on our confidence and presence on the field. [They’re] very happy with the team and it's awesome to coach such a great group of kids. [He is] looking forward to continuing our success and becoming a strong team! It's time Malden Field Hockey gets on everyone's radar.”