Malden High School welcomed a new chapter of field hockey this fall with both veteran players and a fresh assembly of recruits, all prepared to slam their sticks into victory. Despite the hardships of the pandemic affecting their play this past year, all is history as the players sported their Malden jerseys and positive attitudes for the season.
Friday, October 8th marked the team’s victory against Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School. Their performance took place on home territory at Pine Banks, with an incredible five goals secured within the first quarter of the game. Coach Samantha Souza stood on the sidelines to consistently embolden the players to work together. She successfully relayed triumphant energy to the playing surface.
With their record of five victories and one tie set by then, Souza was thrilled and expected the start of even stronger, collaborative engagement among the players. “This year is definitely a rebuilding season for [them],” she states. “We want to work more cohesively as a team, communicate a little better and operate as one unit. I know these are the kindest and most respectful kids I've ever met; they love and support each other, which is carried onto the field. This year will initiate something bigger and better.”
Souza also commented on the team’s additional goal of qualifying for the GBL (Greater Boston League) Tournament again, in which their hard work earned their championship title the year prior. “I definitely hopes that we are GBL champions again, and if not, it would be great to be up there somewhere. With the kids’ determination, there's no doubt in my mind that they will be claiming that championship.”
The team captains shared such ambitions with Souza as the season made its halfway peak through October. Junior Lyra Gold, playing the position of left midfielder and one of four field hockey captains, voiced her thoughts on the team’s communication building, stating that vocal communication is a "huge part of how we play." Their strategy involved to keep "pushing on communication and spatial awareness on the field" to improve their performance. This strategy proved effective given the team’s outstanding victory against Northeast Metro Tech.
Captain Henry Zhao warmly acknowledged the team’s bounce back from the pandemic. “I finally got to have all my teammates on the field (…) There is more passing the ball, more engagement and more enthusiasm.” Zhao felt “ecstatic” about Malden’s win with cheering everyone on and being one of the scoring players on the field.
Captain Peyton Lightbody further showed enthusiasm for scoring one of the evening’s points, adding that “I had been asking the coach to play in a forward position at least once in high school, and I did that during the game." Lightbody stated that one of her main goals was to "improve as a goalie" but she actually got to play outside of the goal post and score the first goal of her career.
With thrilled remarks from the captains for the season, the game against Northeast Metro Tech captured some moments both heartwarming and hot with action.
Correction: Coach Samantha Souza was referred to as Stepahnie Souza.