Berlin field hockey set for strong 2021 campaign

From left to right:

Arayann Bedard, Monti Manfredi, Olivia Clorite, Audrianna Lefebvre, Lacey Johnson, Erin McCormick, Ariana Richard, Ava Petrie, Tiah Turmel, Luma Berry (goalie), Mia Letourneau, Cienna Langlais, Lexi Bourassa, Leila Horne, Brooklyn Rainville, Lily Kelley, Madison Valentino, Jaiden Laflamme and Gabby Poulin. Missing Emily Roy. (WILLIAM CARROLL PHOTO)

BERLIN — Following a season ending due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the Berlin field hockey team to have to forfeit a chance at a state championship, this year’s team has already started the season on a positive note at 3-0 including a 13-0 victory over Franklin last week.

Head Coach Nicole Arguin said she lost five starters from last year’s state runners up, including a significant number of her midfield players. Arguin said her goalie from last season, sophomore Luma Berry is returning for this season, Luma played last year as a freshman.

Arguin said that while her midfield is mostly newer players she has seen a significant amount of improvement already starting two weeks before the team’s first game of the season Aug. 31 against Littleton, a game the Mountaineers won 4-0. Arguin said during the preseason the team was able to play quite a few games and that she saw progression in her team between each match. During the preseason Arguin said she worked moving players around to see where they would fit best with the goal of using the strengths of each individual player to make the team as a whole stronger.

“We do have some experience coming into the season,” Arguin said. “The pace of the game is different at the varsity level compared to junior varsity and so we have been working on that (with younger players).

Arguin said her team includes two returning defensive players with a good deal of experience and three players on the front line who also have a lot of experience. When those experienced players are mixed with younger players it creates a strong mix of talent.

Arguin said the team has a good deal of speed in the front line, noting that everyone she has placed on the front line is quick moving upfield with the ball. On defense, the return of the team’s goalie and two defenders gives a strong presence at the back, which has been apparent in the young season as the team has only surrendered one goal in three contest.

Arguin said the team’s weakness early in the season is in its transition game, specifically moving quickly from offense to defense, but she said this is due in part to having new players in several positions, especially in the midfield.

When asked about which players would be the standout players for the 2021 Mountaineers, Arguin said it would be difficult to pinpoint one or several players. She said the team’s success this season is going to be wholly dependent on how the girls gel as a team.

She did note that her young players have been impressive in the young season. She also noted that some of the sophomores have been strong as well. The team only has three seniors this season and is heavy in junior and sophomore talent, so there is significant room to grow and improve as the season progresses.

Arguin said the team’s overall success this season will be whether the team can play to its potential. Based upon the players the Mountaineers have this season the potential is there it is simply how well the team is able to play up to their maximum potential, Arguin said.

The Mountaineers have a challenging schedule in front of them. Arguin noted that contests against Gilford, White Mountain Regional and Kennett will be solid tests for the team coming into the season. Friday night the Mountaineers face Gilford at Gilford, but the result of that game was not available by press time.

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