Field hockey looks like a powerhouse

Written by Mike Halloran
 | Tuesday, 28 September 2010 19:43

 Maybe field hockey Coach Pam Manley should have more babies.

Ever since the birth of her son in early September, Manley’s field hockey team has been the scourge of the South Shore, scoring goals at an incredible rate and playing defense in a way that makes opponents wonder what will it take to score on the Duxbury Express.

In a sport known for its low scoring, Manley and co-coach Teri Vandewater have created a monster, outscoring opponents 33-2 while going 6-0-0.

“I think I said before the season started we had depth, skills, and team speed in our starting lineup,” said Manley. “I think now we are seeing we have all those ingredients on our bench too. We suffered a couple of season-ending injuries in our opener that effected our depth, so it might have taken away the comfort level of our starters because they go out there now and feel like every game is a fight. ”

Junior Grace Nissi has been unstoppable of late, scoring a pair of goals against Hingham, followed by three against Scituate and two more in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Bishop Fenwick on the road in Peabody.

The win over Fenwick was one of the tougher games of the young season, as Duxbury managed to barely outshoot their opponent, 24-20.

“It was the toughest defense we faced this year,” said Manley. “They were all over us every time we touched the ball and it forced us to be more creative.”

Being creative seems to have been working for Duxbury with a 7-0 rout of undefeated Hingham and a 6-0 pummeling of Scituate.

While the numbers coming out for the sport haven’t grown substantially, girls are now coming into the program with some semblance of how the sport is played.

“The kids pretty much played at the recreation level until about two years ago when my assistant Jen Hammel started youth clinics and our varsity girls helped her out at camps and summer leagues where they played other towns,” said Manley.

Having younger kids come into the program with knowledge of stick skills and the rules has certainly helped Manley and her staff build a winning program.

“Our kids play with confidence and they’ll need to in the second half of the season,” said the Duxbury coach. “I’m sure when we play some of these teams again we’ll have a bull’s-eye on our backs.”

By the end of the week half of Duxbury’s season will be completed with a big test coming up on Friday when it entertains perennial nemesis Hanover.

“I would have to say the effectiveness of our offense is the primary reason for our success right now,” said Manley. “Their effectiveness in shot selection and percentage is really good and our bench depth has given us a solid second line of Emmy Horton, Emily Munson, Sarah Varano and Kylie White.”

Sophomores Hannah Murphy and Molly Zaverucha have also contributed to Duxbury’s offensive onslaught, while veterans Siobhan McCarthy, Briana Connolly, Keri Gould, and newcomer sophomore defender Kathryn Nutter have been solid and reliable on both ends of the field, allowing sophomore goalkeeper Sophie Fitzpatrick to register four shutouts.

The girls will be in action on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. when they travel to Middleboro.