Storm Girls Varsity Field Hockey: How a Pivotal Win Against the GFA Dragons Helped Fuel a Successful Season On and Off the Field


Kiley Galvin '23, Staff Writer

Thirty years from now when I look back on my high school experience, the 2021 field hockey season will stand out as a memorable highlight.

After successful preseason scrimmages, the SLS Varsity Girls Field Hockey Team kicked off the regular season with an exciting  4-0 win over Hopkins. This defeat of our opponent set the tone for a sensational winning season. In the following week, our team captured another solid win against The Masters School, beating them 9-0. That win provided us with high energy and momentum that led into our matchup against our rival, Greens Farms Academy. 

The Storm has historically competed in intense games against the Dragons. We were determined to prove ourselves, as we had not beaten GFA since 2001 – 20 long years ago! After a lengthy 60 minute fight, we were rewarded with yet another victory in a tight match, edging out one extra goal for a 3-2 final score. This win was the highlight of my junior season! As I celebrated with my team, I experienced a variety of emotions. Not only did I feel ecstatic about our win, but I was also so proud of how all my teammates came together to earn such a rewarding win. Our countless hours of hard work in practice and our determination finally paid off. 

Head Coach Emily Walsh said, “Our win against Greens Farms boosted our confidence as a team… I would say that victory was a spark for the rest of our season — it changed everyone’s outlook on our potential and the accomplishment of beating a team for the first time in 15 years brought us closer as a group. After that, we went into each game knowing that we could win, which was a change in mindset that helped us tremendously.”  

Aside from the excitement of victory, this was an eye-opening game for me because it taught me a few important lessons to consider for the remainder of the season and my field hockey career. As a player, I fought and played harder than ever before because I knew how important this game was to our team. My teammates fought equally as hard. We played with a “team first” attitude. And it was amazing what we could accomplish! Once we had this win under our belts, we held confidence and energy that benefited us for the remainder of the season. We knew if we dug deep, we had the ability to make the playoffs, and that is just what we did. 

For the first time in 20 years, our team qualified for the FAA tournament! We also qualified for the NEPSACs. These milestones were huge for the Storm because they demonstrated to us how hard work really does pay off, especially when we are working as a team. Throughout the season our team had built such strong relationships with one another and with our coaches, and that is one of the major reasons this season amongst others was so successful. We started in August as teammates, but we ended the season as the best of friends – and that translated to strong chemistry on the field. Even in our toughest games, we supported one another with encouraging words or a high five, which reminded me that our togetherness is more important than any score on a scoreboard. Our Storm team spirit on the field and the sidelines was unmatched by any of our opponents. Our ability to deeply connect with each of our teammates, and build trust in one another makes winning so much more rewarding because we are all working to reach a goal for each other. 

Coach Walsh also said, “Our season was successful because each player on the team embraced the role they had. Our captains and the rest of the senior class did an amazing job of uniting the group and making sure that everyone felt valued and appreciated. We generated a lot of trust within the team, and that is why we were able to succeed on the field — there was no selfishness, and that made all the difference. This team was truly special, and the biggest takeaway I have is that if every player puts the team first, great things can happen.” 

Our team won a competitive battle in the first round of the FAA tournament beating Rye Country Day, advancing us to the semi-finals where we succumbed to the FAA Champion Sacred Heart. In the first round of the NEPSACs, we suffered a narrow defeat to The Pingree School. The NEPSAC loss hurt, not only because our team played so well and the game was so close, but also because it was our last game playing altogether as a team. With seven seniors on our team, we didn’t want to leave the field, all realizing that was the last time we would all be standing side by side in uniform. That day I realized that although we didn’t get the results we had hoped for in NEPSACs, our season was a WIN. We accomplished more than we ever thought possible – a solid winning record, qualifying for the FAA and NEPSACs, and lifelong friendships that will always share the memory of an amazing season.